Posts by paulchakalian

The Sound of Glacial Calving

Posted by on May 19, 2015 in All Posts, Featured Posts, News, Science, Uncategorized | 0 comments

The Sound of Glacial Calving

Spread the News:ShareListening to the unique creaks and cracks of an arctic fjord, six researchers affiliated with the Polish Academy of Sciences recorded the sounds glaciers make as they break off into water. The recordings are being used in an important effort to better understand this process of breaking off, called calving. Glacial calving is “poorly understood” according to the researchers who published a new article in the scientific journal, Geophysical Research Letters, titled, Underwater acoustic signatures of glacier calving. However, through their research they successfully identified three distinct ways that glaciers calve, typical subaerial, sliding subaerial, and submarine. Basically, whether the piece of ice breaking off was falling outward from the top of the glacier, like a person jumping off the top, sliding straight down the face of the glacier, like something very slowly sliding off the top, or was actually breaking off underwater and shooting up to the surface, like a person swimming back up after falling in. Although glaciers around the world, by definition, are all large masses of ice that last year-round and slowly move, they vary in size, shape, speed, and importantly, location. Eventually, many glaciers terminate at bodies of water. Glaciers that terminate at bodies of water with tidal patterns, like oceans fjords, and sounds, are called tidewater glaciers. Tidewater glaciers are a form of calving glaciers, which break off into chunks as they push forward into bodies of water, creating icebergs. This new article adds to our understanding of this process in a novel way. By recording the sounds of the calving process the researches overcame previous obstacles in monitoring these events. In the past, keeping track of tidewater glacial calving was difficult due to the lack of sunlight in the poles and the poor quality of satellite imagery. However, using relatively cheap and simple underwater microphones, called hydrophones, attached to a buoy, the researches identified the distinct sound signatures of the ice slowly melting, cracking and expanding, and eventually, breaking off from the glacier altogether. The researchers then combined the calving sound signatures with photographs from a GoPro camera they had set up to monitor the events visually, allowing them to identify and confirm the three distinct types of calving. They say that by continuing to monitor the underwater sounds glaciers make, scientists will be able collect more data on how, and how much, glaciers around the world are breaking off into the bodies of water in which they terminate. This will help to better understand the calving process itself, as well as allow them to keep better track of how quickly glaciers are melting due to climate change. This is important, because tidewater glaciers contribute more water to global sea level rise than any other type of glacier, and by some counts, contribute more water to sea level rise than the Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets combined. By establishing the connection between the visual and audio information the researches established that these sound signatures did in fact correspond to these particular types of events, and presumably, could be used on its own in the future– giving scientist a cheap and easy monitoring tool to gauge glacier calving around the world. Spread the...

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Cecil the Pet Glacier – A Review

Posted by on Apr 28, 2015 in All Posts, Art/Culture, Featured Posts | 0 comments

Cecil the Pet Glacier – A Review

Spread the News:ShareAward-winning poet Matthea Harvey wasn’t sticking to conventional children’s pets stories when she wrote Cecil the Pet Glacier, published by Shorts and Wade in August 2014. The book, illustrated by Giselle Potter, follows young Ruby Small on a family vacation to Norway, where she grudgingly befriends a glacier – or rather, a piece of a calving glacier – named Cecil. Ruby didn’t want to go to Norway, and she doesn’t like her parents. Her father owns a topiary garden business, her mother makes tiaras, and they do lots of strange things – they play ping-pong on an airplanes and tango dance in the front yard. Their eccentricity embarrasses the little girl protagonist. Ruby just wants normal parents and a normal life. She certainly doesn’t want a pet glacier – she wants a dog. Nonetheless, after Ruby discovers what she at first dubbed the “ice-pest,” Cecil, their paths seemed destined to stay intertwined. Cecil notices Ruby’s strengths early, and persists even when Ruby initially rejects him. “He would nudge the door, leaving a wet patch below the doorknob. After a bit, he would slide sadly back to his cooler.” Ultimately, the book provides a great moral about embracing your inner weird and creativity, as Ruby learns by the end of the story that Cecil the pet glacier isn’t so bad, and her eccentric and artsy parents aren’t so bad either. Lots of kids grow up with or wanting a new pet, and lots of kids grow up wanting a different family, different parents, or a different life. Cecil the Pet Glacier is positive because it embraces this reality at the same time that it embraces the bizarre. How many kids do you know with a piece of a glacier following them around? But the book apparently goes over great with kids. One parent reviewing the book on The Picture Book Review said about her son that she “fear[s] if we ever do come face to face with a real glacier and a small bit doesn’t follow him around, he’s going to be sorely disappointed.” Cecil the Pet Glacier is strange in the most wonderful ways:http://t.co/9ms7Y13MAl pic.twitter.com/v9slW9DbrL — Danielle Davis (@writesinLA) May 13, 2014 Cecil the Pet Glacier is great too, because it gives young readers a quick and painless science lesson at the same time that it teaches them to value their individuality. The story inevitably exposes young kids to more geology and geography than your average fairy tale. All the visualizations and anthropomorphisms of Cecil the glacier will cause a young reader, or young listener, to think about what a glacier is, how it melts and freezes, and how fragile it really is. In fact, Cecil even almost dies from melting when he rushes out to rescue one of Ruby’s dolls that had been left out in the rain. And that’s the point when Ruby realizes how much she would miss him if he were gone. At that point, she calls out for his favorite food items,  “Help! I need some ice water and a plate of pebbles!” Cecil the Pet Glacier is not exactly an equivalent of The Giving Tree of glaciers, but it makes you think more about what glaciers are than most children’s books, and to care about them, too.  As Potter’s surreal illustrations of Cecil and Cecil’s own story continue to charm you, you’ll start to find Cecil as engaging as Ruby ultimately does. Spread the...

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Roundup: Himalayan Avalanche, Glacial Art, and Volcanoes

Posted by on Apr 27, 2015 in All Posts, Featured Posts, Roundup | 0 comments

Roundup: Himalayan Avalanche, Glacial Art, and Volcanoes

Spread the News:Share The 7.8 magnitude Nepal earthquake on April 27th unleashed an enormous avalanche above the Mt. Everest base camp. This is the beginning of the short spring climbing season and the camp was full of hopeful climbers. At least 11 people have been killed. For more coverage see here     Until May 3rd an art exhibit on glaciers will be in Berlin, Germany. It will include Emma Stibbon’s Ice themed water colors and drawings. Check it out, here.       Image by, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Via Flicker Jan 2015 There is new evidence that the glacier covered Bardarbunga caldera may be rising again in Iceland. This could indicate an increased likelihood of a near-future eruption. See the story, here. Spread the...

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Photo of the Week: Forgotten Glaciers in the Pyrenees

Posted by on Apr 17, 2015 in All Posts, Featured Posts, Images, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Photo of the Week: Forgotten Glaciers in the Pyrenees

Spread the News:ShareThe Pyrenees, a mountain range between France and Spain, are home to some rarely written about, but strikingly beautiful glaciers. Glaciers in the Pyrenees receive less attention than their counterparts in places like Greenland, the Himalayas, and Switzerland, but like these more familiar ones, they are also very fragile, and very spectacular. Unfortunately,  because of their relatively low latitude and altitude, the glaciers in the Pyrenees may not be around for very much longer. Chapelle à Saint Nicolas de Veroce, commune de Saint Gervais-les-Bains, Haute-Savoie, Rhône-Alpes, France Photo By: Bernard Blanc Via: flicker Loudenvielle, France Lake in Loudenvielle, Pyrennees 2005 Photo By: Johan Follow Via: Flicker Boums de Port et refuge Photo By: Stéphan Peccini La cascade Colla de Caballo Photo By: R E M I B R I D O Via: Flikcer Au soir tombant, Bosdarros, Béarn, Pyrénées Atlantiques, Aquitaine, France. Photo By: Bernard Blanc VIa: Flicker Pyrénées Photo by: Gzooh Via: Flikcer Matignon, vallée d'Aspe, Béarn, Pyrénées Atlantiques, Aquitaine, France Image By: Bernard Blanc Via: Flicker   Photo Friday highlights photo essays and collections from areas with glaciers. If you have photos you’d like to share, let us know in the comments, by Twitter @glacierhub or email us at glacierhub@gmail.com. Spread the...

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Ice Cave Collapses On Mt. Hood

Posted by on Apr 7, 2015 in All Posts, Communities, Experiences, Featured Posts, News, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Ice Cave Collapses On Mt. Hood

Spread the News:ShareIn the warmest winter on record the roof of a highly popular ice cave on Mt. Hood, Oregon fell in. The Snow Dragon ice cave at the bottom of the Sandy Glacier on Mt. Hood was first publicly documented in 2011 by Brent McGregor and Eddy Cartaya– we covered their experience documenting the Sandy Glacier last October. Since then, the western US has experienced one of the warmest and driest winters on record, and the Sandy Glacier responded. As can be seen in the photos above from McGregor and Cartaya’s Facebook page covering ice cave explorations, the Snow Dragon cave has been significantly reduced this winter. The roof to the entrance collapsed in what McGregor on Facebook said he “would consider . . . the biggest change in the cave system since we have been monitoring it.” This was always a fate for the ice cave that could have been anticipated. For years, many climbers  have said Snow Dragon and other cave systems like it would melt before long. Ice thawing from within the glaciers forms the caves. As that thawing continues and expands outwards, it begins to breach the surface. Once tunnels open to the surface, the glaciers continue to melt in an increasing positive feedback: warm surface air travels down the tunnels to the glacier’s core, increasing the rate of melt and creating new surface openings. Ice cave systems are inherently temporary, so expeditions attempt to explore and document their beauty, chemistry, and biology before they’re gone. As we posted in January, a team from Uncage the Soul Productions shot “Requiem of Ice” in the Sandy Glacier system with help from McGregor and Cartaya for just that reason. In an interview referencing the current collapse in the Snow Dragon cave with Oregon’s KGW, McGregor said although they knew the caves were temporary, “we thought we had another 5 or 10 years till we reached that point, but it’s accelerating. It doesn’t matter what you believe as far as climate change, the fact is that we are losing ice on our glaciers, just not in Oregon, just not on Mt. Hood, worldwide we’re loosing a lot of ice.” In fact, at one time there was an even bigger cave system than the Sandy Glacier system. The caves on Mt. Rainier, Washington’s Paradise Glacier– first discovered in the 19th century– were some of the biggest and most popular ice caves in the country by the 1950’s. By 1970 glacial retreat had caused their roofs to cave in and tunnels to collapse, and today, only the highest ice caves in the system are left. Glacial ice caves don’t always melt away slowly and when no one’s looking. In 2008 a teenage boy became trapped inside an ice cave on Mt. Baker, Washington. The boy’s mother was taking his and friends’ photo inside the cave when the roof suddenly fell in– trapping them inside. It took 6 hours to get them out and the boys were only semi-conscious when they were finally rescued. Events like these outline the dangers associated with these highly volatile cave systems. More recently, in July 2014, a popular ice cave on Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska collapsed due to increasing glacial melt. No one was trapped inside that time, but scientists and park officials are worried that as temperatures warm and glaciers retreat, more people may be injured exploring popular glacial ice caves unprepared. As beautiful as the caves are, and as amazing as it is to have the chance to explore their tunnels, they are inevitably disappearing. Nature is always in flux, and we find ourselves currently in an era of increased climate...

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