Posts by JingchaoWang

Roundup: Glaciers are Visited by Tourists, Scientists and Microbes

Posted by on Mar 28, 2016 in All Posts, Featured Posts, News, Roundup | 0 comments

Roundup: Glaciers are Visited by Tourists, Scientists and Microbes

Spread the News:ShareEach week, we highlight three stories from the forefront of glacier news. Glacier National Park prepares for busier season this year From KPAS: “Glacier National Park continue to celebrate their 100th year anniversary and anticipates a very busy upcoming summer season and even launched a new program. “Last year we saw a 3%-4% increase in visitation. It was our highest visitation on record; 2.3 million people we welcomed here at Glacier National Park. This year we anticipate an even higher visitation,” park spokeswoman Margie Steigerwald said. This marks the first year for Every Kid in a Park, a program launched by the National Park Foundation. Steigerwald says its purpose is to introduce more kids and their families to the national park system.” Read more about this anniversary here. Scientists fly glacial ice to south pole to unlock secrets of global warming From  The Guardian: “In a few weeks, researchers will begin work on a remarkable scientific project. They will drill deep into the Col du Dôme glacier on Mont Blanc and remove a 130 metre core of ice. Then they will fly it, in sections, by helicopter to a laboratory in Grenoble before shipping it to Antarctica. There the ice core will be placed in a specially constructed vault at the French-Italian Concordia research base, 1,000 miles from the South Pole. The Col du Dôme ice will become the first of several dozen other cores, extracted from glaciers around the world, that will be added to the repository over the next few years. The idea of importing ice to the south pole may seem odd – the polar equivalent of taking coals to Newcastle – but the project has a very serious aim, researchers insist.” Read more about this ice core repository here. Microbes and toxins frozen within glaciers could reveal the future of human life on Earth—or threaten it From Phys.org: “Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous literary detective Sherlock Holmes once noted that “the little things are infinitely the most important.” It’s a belief that investigators at the University of Alberta obviously share. Whether they’re seeking to understand the tiniest forms of life, taking small steps toward major breakthroughs or influencing students in subtle but profound ways, U of A researchers and educators are proving that little things can make a big impact. If aliens came to Earth on a fact-finding mission after the extinction of the human species, they could do worse than head straight for what’s left of the planet’s glaciers. Frozen in the ice is a wealth of information not only on our past climate over hundreds of thousands of years, but also on the toxins we spew into the atmosphere, even the diseases and plagues to which we succumb.” Learn more about these organisms and toxins here. Spread the...

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Photo Friday: The Kerguelen Islands

Posted by on Mar 11, 2016 in All Posts, Featured Posts, Images, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Photo Friday: The Kerguelen Islands

Spread the News:ShareThe Kerguelen Islands, part of the French Southern and Antarctic lands, are located in the southern Indian Ocean.The islands are among the most isolated places on Earth, over 3200 km away from the nearest populated area. The largest island is Grand Terre (120 by 150 km). It contains the capital city of Port-aux-Francais. On the islands, there are only around 100 people, mostly scientists, sheepherders and fishers. The local people use only ships for travel and transport. The Kerguelen Islands also have a nickname,  the Desolation Islands. The climate on the island is incessant with howling winds as well as rain almost every day throughout the year. The wind, whipping at about 49 degrees South in the Southern Hemisphere, places Kerguelen through the path of the belt of westerly winds, called “Furious Fifties.” The frigid temperatures have provided  conditions for the creation of multiple glaciers which are scattered across the island. The largest, Cook Glacier, located on the southwest section of the island, looks like a white cap decorated with ice. Mount Ross, covered with snow in the southeast, is one of the youngest volcanic mountain in the world. Kerguelen Port Couvreux A bird flies over the sea near Kerguelen Port Couvreux Kerguelen MtRoss6 Beautiful scene of Kerguelen Mountain Kerguelen Lac The seaside of the Kerguelen Lake Kerguelen_RallierDuBatty Mac Murdo and Howe Islands Mac Murdo and Howe Islands are 2 of the 300 islands of the remote Kerguélen Archipelago, located in the southern Indian Ocean. The center island, Grande Terre The center island, Grande Terre, has an area of 2,577 sq. mi. (6,675 sq. km.), making it a little smaller than the Greek island of Crete and a little larger than the state of Delaware (USA). MODIS image of the Kerguelen Islands A rare break in the clouds on February 15, 2007, gave the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite a chance to capture this photo-like image of the Kerguelen Islands. The eastern part of the islands The image shows the eastern part of the island, and covers an area of 43 by 35 km, is located at 49.3 degrees south, 69.4 degrees east, and was acquired February 27, 2009. Spread the...

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How Melting Glaciers Can Change Regional Climate

Posted by on Mar 9, 2016 in Adaptation, All Posts, Featured Posts, Science | 0 comments

How Melting Glaciers Can Change Regional Climate

Spread the News:ShareFresh water melting from glaciers in the Southern Hemisphere could make contributions to climate change, according to the recent study, “Glacial lake drainage in Patagonia (13-8 kyr) and response of the adjacent Pacific Ocean,” by Neil F. Glasser and others in the journal Nature Scientific Reports. These findings are consistent with previous studies in North America and Europe. It is not surprising to learn that climate change causes glaciers to melt, but perhaps counterintuitive to realize that glacial melting itself might intensify regional impacts of climate change, such as precipitation. “The study is important because we are currently concerned about the volumes of fresh water entering the oceans from the melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica and this gives us an indication of the likely effects,” Glasser said in an email to GlacierHub. Deglaciation— the process of gradual glacier melting— has been found in North America and Europe to influence abrupt changes in climate. It works like this: the melting of vast volumes of ice can lead to the formation of large freshwater lakes, which can flow into the ocean; the freshwater from these lakes is less dense than the saltier waters of the ocean. An addition of such fresher, and less dense, waters can influence the structure of the ocean’s layers, which vary in their temperature, saltiness, and density. This structure also affects the currents within the ocean, which are driven largely by density (heavier water sinks, and lighter water rises) and the transfer of heat and water vapor between the ocean and the atmosphere. The Younger Dryas (a sharp temperature decline in most of the Northern Hemisphere between 12,900 and 11,700 year ago), and other cooling events around 8000 years ago, are evidence of impact of the addition of freshwater into the oceans. There was no specific research in the Southern Hemisphere on this topic before this study; other researchers have known about past fluctuations, but not of the effects on oceans and climate. In order to clarify the principles in detail, the author and other researchers selected Patagonia as the target area. Patagonia, located at the southern end of South America, is an important area to test and interpret the records of environmental change because of its climatically sensitive location for its location near the core of westerly winds which greatly influence precipitation. The research tried to establish the dates of three stages of rapid glacial lake drainage in the Pueyrredón basins of Patagonia using a group of methods called optically stimulated luminescence (OSL), which determines how long ago mineral grains were last exposed to sunlight and as a consequence can be used to estimate the date. In general, the lake drainage occurred between 13,000 and 8000 years ago. The water initially flowed eastward into the Atlantic, and then reorganized westward into the Pacific in new drainage routes formed as a result of deglaciation. New geomorphological mapping and new OSL dates not only showed the glacial lake nature and evolution of the region, but also reconstructed the glacial lake system and associated drainage routes. By adopting coupled ocean-atmosphere model simulations, the understanding of ocean-climate interactions in the Southern Hemisphere has been significantly advanced. The study indicates that a great sea density change caused by salinity variance off the southern tip of South America could lead to significant impacts on the structure of coastal ocean layers, and thus the long-term regional climate and precipitation changes. The research was also supported by the proxy data of the Andes and other eastern South Pacific data gathered from natural records of climate variability, such as tree rings and ice...

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Addressing Mountains in a Peruvian Village

Posted by on Feb 17, 2016 in All Posts, Communities, Featured Posts, Interviews | 0 comments

Addressing Mountains in a Peruvian Village

Spread the News:ShareFrom 2010 to 2012, Astrid Stensrud, currently a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Oslo, researched climate change in the Colca Canyon of southern Peru, as part of the project “From Ice to Stone” from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Copenhagen. With climate change, water insecurity has caused new uncertainties for farmers in this part of Peru. For her article “Climate Change, Water Practices and Relational Worlds in the Andes,” Stensrud researched water practices to provide an anthropological perspective on how local people adapt to climate change. The research is based on ethnographic material generated during eight months of fieldwork in various villages of Peru, located at different altitudes in the Colca-Majes-Camaná watershed. Examining climate change from a social science perspective can complement natural science perspectives, because it allows for an analysis of the integrated relationship between infrastructure, technology, material objects, and culture. Taking this connected web into account, water serves as a link to join every part, including not only natural factors but also social and cultural ones. Stensrud’s research shows that these aspects are connected, offering locally-based solutions to address the current water crisis caused by climate change. Stensrud spoke with Glacier Hub by email. GlacierHub: As an anthropologist, why did you decide to focus on the intersection of culture, water security, and climate change— and what does looking at culture add to the climate change conversation? Astrid Stensrud: Climate research has been largely dominated by the natural sciences, but social anthropologists ask different questions and have the advantage of doing long-term, in-depth fieldwork among people affected by climate change and declining water supplies. Anthropology can contribute by drawing attention to cultural values and everyday politics that shape climate-related knowledge and responses to environmental change. Understanding climate change is not only about melting ice and changing precipitation patterns. In order to understand how climate change affects lives, it is necessary to look at stories and narratives, imaginations of the past and anticipations of the future, and knowledge, values and worldviews that inform people’s actions and engagements with the environment. GH: Why did you choose the Colca Valley in Peru as the site for your research? AS: I was invited to join a research project called “From Ice to Stone” at the University of Copenhagen for two years in 2010-2012, and it was led by anthropologist Karsten Paerregaard who has been doing ethnographic research in Colca Valley since the 1980s. Since this is an arid area, water access and irrigation have always been crucial issues in Colca, and these concerns are now exacerbated because of climate change. In my current position as a postdoctoral researcher in the research project “Overheating: the three crises of globalization” at the University of Oslo, it was a natural choice to return to the Colca-Majes watershed in order to continue the research on perceptions and responses to climate change and neoliberal economic policies. GS: In the course of your research, what was your biggest surprise? AS: I was surprised to find that issues of water and climate change were so visible and present in conversations among people. I was expecting to patiently dig for information, but when I arrived to Chivay in March 2011, water was discussed in private and public arenas on an everyday basis, and climate change was a term that was used extensively. Later on, I realized that this was not necessarily a good thing, for example when the threat of climate change is used to make poor farmers pay for licenses for water use rights. Climate change was also used as an excuse by a...

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Roundup: Glacier Tragedy, Artists, Melting Glacier Candles

Posted by on Feb 15, 2016 in All Posts, Featured Posts, News, Roundup | 0 comments

Roundup: Glacier Tragedy, Artists, Melting Glacier Candles

Spread the News:ShareEach week, we highlight three stories from the forefront of glacier news.  Siachen Glacier Tragedy: An Opportunity for Peace? From National Geographic: “The death of over a hundred Pakistani soldiers due to an avalanche on April 7 has brought forth the forgotten frozen frontiers of Siachen in the news cycle. This is the world’s highest battlefield where more die of hypothermia than of battle wounds and yet no end is in sight for this senseless conflict. Seven years ago, I wrote an article for India’s Sanctuary Asia magazine on how to quell this conflict using ecological approaches. This was a very practical solution modeled after the Antarctic treaty, which erstwhile adversaries such as the United States and the Soviet Union signed at the height of the Cold War.” To learn more about the research, click here. These Artists Covered A Glacier In A Blanket To Save It From FASTCOEXIST: “In a summer or two, climate change might turn the highest mountain peak in Sweden into the second highest. For the past two decades, the 40-meter-thick glacier on top of Kebnekaise mountain has been shrinking, on average, a meter every year.The project is the third in a series of art projects that looks at geoengineering and the human desire to control the climate and weather. As the artists started researching ice, they read about attempts to slow the ice melt on the Rhone glacier in Switzerland by covering it with blankets.” To learn more about the research, click here. These Melting Glacier Candles Have a Point to Make From CURBED: “These candles are made in the shape and color of glaciers so when they melt, as candles tend to do, they are making a point. And that point is: the glaciers are melting. A little on the nose? Perhaps, but you have to at least give Icelandic designer Brynjar Sigurðarson a hand for executing a concept in a very straightforward, clearly communicated way. And also for designing some nice looking candles, which are being produced by Spanish brand PCM.Mini glacier candles remind you of global warming as they melt” To learn more about the research, click here. Spread the...

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