Posts by Dan Kandy

What a 2,600-year-old pine needle can tell us about the melting Alps

Posted by on Apr 3, 2014 in All Posts, Science | 0 comments

What a 2,600-year-old pine needle can tell us about the melting Alps

Spread the News:ShareThe glaciers of the Alps are melting – and at twice the rate of other glaciers around the world. But what did those glaciers look like in the past? The retreat of glaciers can reveal important data about our climate’s past. High up in the eastern Alps, near the Swiss-Italian border, glaciologists are drilling into snow and ice to extract ice cores, which can uncover the region’s climate history. Under the highest glacier in the eastern Alps, Alto dell’Ortles, researchers have discovered evidence of a changing climate. That’s 262 feet below the surface of the glacier, to be exact. There, a conifer needle encased in solid ice was recently found. Carbon dating indicates that the needle is 2,600 years old. In other words, it tells us that for at least 2,600 years, this glacier, and likely others in the region, have remained frozen. Frozen ice extends up from the bedrock to a level 98 feet below the surface of the glacier, where material is found that corresponds to the early 1980s. At that level the scientists started to find layers composed of grainy, compacted snow – indicating the glacier had partially melted and then refrozen. Paolo Gabrielli, one of the research scientists working on the project, reported this evidence of “current atmospheric warming at high elevation in the Alps is outside the normal cold range held for millennia.” When analyzed for dust and trace metals, these ice cores will offer up more clues about the region’s past climate. And because annual layers can be detected in the ice cores, they can yield a high-resolution climate record. The team will also investigate the question of why glaciers in the Alps are disappearing faster than those found around the world. “Ortles offers us the unique possibility to closely verify if and how regional environmental changes can interact with climatic changes of global significance,” Gabrielli said. Spread the...

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At the Foot the Rockies, Tribes Make Tough Decisions

Posted by on Feb 27, 2014 in All Posts, Communities | 0 comments

At the Foot the Rockies, Tribes Make Tough Decisions

Spread the News:ShareIn the shadow of the Rocky Mountains live the Native American Blackfoot tribes. Facing high unemployment, the tribe opened up their lands to oil and gas production to boast the local economy. The number of wells has grown since the fracking boom on the Great Plains, leading to concerns about this ecologically and culturally important area being degraded by industrial activity. The reservation sits next to Glacier National Park, and its beautiful, fragile, fading glaciers. While some have hailed natural gas as a positive alternative to other more CO2 intensive fossil fuels, others doubt that it will play a role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Regardless of whether hydraulic fracturing occurring next to the national park slows or speeds up the glacier’s retreat, the local community is weighing the benefits of increased job opportunities and wealth with the possible harm to land that forms a part of their cultural heritage, and the pristine ecosystem that land supports. New exploratory wells are being opened in an area previously untouched by gas exploration, and the if the wells yield gas, it’s likely activity will increase. You can read more about the impact of hydraulic fracturing in the area here and here Image credit: https://flic.kr/p/bmJmcN Spread the...

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Photos from Franz Josef Glacier

Posted by on Feb 14, 2014 in All Posts, Images | 0 comments

Photos from Franz Josef Glacier

Spread the News:ShareThe Franz Josef Glacier located in Westland Tai Poutini National Park on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island. Spread the...

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