Posts Tagged "Alps"

Glacier stories you may have missed this week – 9/29

Posted by on Sep 29, 2014 in Adaptation, All Posts, Featured Posts, News | 0 comments

Glacier stories you may have missed this week – 9/29

Spread the News:ShareNepal tourism adapts to climate change “Weather can ruin the vacation while climate can devastate a holiday destination. Climate change not only impacts on tourism directly by changes in temperature, extreme weather events and other climatic factors, but it will also transform the natural environment that attracts tourists. Despite the global nature of tourism industry and its economic contributions, scholars of climate change research have hardly acknowl- edged the threat of climate change to the tourism industry.” Read more about Nepal’s tourism industry’s efforts to deal with climate change in this study in the International Journal of Disciplinary Studies.   Pakistan needs more glacier data-sharing to mitigate disasters “‘Our elders used to say this glacier was very high, so high there was no one living here. This was a giant glacial lake,’ Sajjad Ali said. Standing on a cliffside, he pointed down at the Hopar Glacier, more than a 1,000 metres below, its surface covered by massive boulders it had swept out of its way as it carved a valley through the Karakoram mountains.” Read more about in Pakistan’s efforts to monitor glaciers in IRIN Asia.   Austrian and Swiss Alps look back at their history…way, way back “The landscapes in mountain regions are often strongly influenced by the steep climatic gradients and by past variations in climatic conditions. Therefore, the study of geological landscape features such as moraines, landslides and rock glaciers with appropriate geochronological approaches allows insights into past variations in climate.” Read the full study in the July 8, 2014 issue of Quaternary Science Reviews. Spread the...

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As glaciers melt, bodies resurface

Posted by on Aug 26, 2014 in All Posts, Communities, Featured Posts, News, Science | 0 comments

As glaciers melt, bodies resurface

Spread the News:ShareIn June 2012, an Alaska Army National Guard helicopter was flying over the Colony Glacier on a routine training flight when the crew noticed bits of wreckage scattered on the ice. The twisted metal, bits of cloth and other debris turned out to be all that was left of a C-124 Globemaster II troop transport that crashed in 1952, killing all 52 people on board. In June of this year, the Department of Defense said it identified the remains of 17 servicemen from the crash site. “It’s taken 60 years for the wreckage and portions of the plane to actually come out of the glacier underneath all that ice and snow,” said Gregory Berg, a forensic anthropologist for the military, in a 2012 interview. “It’s starting to erode out now.” The crash site was nothing like that of a nearly intact World War II-era fighter found in the Sahara. Because of the to the glacier’s splitting ice crevasses, much of the plane, and the plane’s remaining crew, are likely still frozen after 60 years. The location of the troop transport, which was known not long after the crash, had been lost because of the glacier’s movement and the opening and closing of those crevasses. The reappearance of a long-lost body in the ice isn’t a new thing and will likely become more common as global climate change melts more ice, revealing the frozen corpses of people thought to be missing forever. The most famous glacier find happened over two decades ago. In 1991, two German tourists were climbing the Similaun peak on a sunny afternoon in the Italian Alps near the Austrian border when they spied a body lying facedown and half-frozen in the ice. What was left of the body’s skin was hardened, light brown in color, and stretched tightly across its skeleton. The man the tourists found turned out to be more than 5,000 years old. Named Ötzi, after the Ötzal region of the Alps he was found in, the natural mummy provided a look into Copper Age Europe. He had tools, clothes and even shoes frozen along with him. Ötzi’s remarkable preservation (he’s Europe’s oldest natural mummy) was due to him being covered in snow and later ice shortly after death, shielding him from decay. Last summer, elsewhere in the Alps, a rescue helicopter pilot spotted something that shouldn’t be in the glaciers surrounding the Matterhorn: abandoned equipment and clothing wrapped around bones. Those remains turned out to be those of 27-year-old British climber Jonathan Conville, who had disappeared on the mountain in 1979. Hundreds of people have been reported missing from the area surrounding the Matterhorn and melting ice means more of them might be found. The tiny town of Peio, high up in the Italian Alps, has grown accustomed to this phenomenon. Once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the peaks, caves and glaciers around Peio were the scene of heavy fighting during World War I between Imperial and Italian forces. From 1915-1918, the two sides fought along the hundreds of miles of the Italian Front where more than a million soldiers died and two million more were wounded in the aptly named White War. As the Alpine glaciers melt high above Peio, rifles, equipment, bits of tattered uniforms and even letters and diaries from a hundred years ago again see the light of day. Though many of these relics are displayed in the town’s war museum, many more are looted by treasure hunters hoping to resell them on the black market. The frozen, mummified bodies of the Italian and Austro-Hungarian soldiers have...

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Climate change horror at the center of “Blood Glacier”

Posted by on Jun 25, 2014 in All Posts, Art/Culture, Featured Posts | 0 comments

Climate change horror at the center of “Blood Glacier”

Spread the News:ShareAt a remote climate change monitoring station high in the Austrian Alps, a group of climate scientists discovered a glacier oozing blood. This blood is highly mutagenic, transforming the creatures that come into contact with it into aggressive, terrifying monsters. “Blood Glacier”, an Austrian horror film, begins with the not-so-farfetched premise that melting glaciers will cause massive changes in the ecosystem. Shot on location in Italy’s South Tyrolean Alps, the movie takes a page from John Carpenter’s “The Thing,” in which a group of scientists in a remote, icy outpost awaken an otherworldly horror that picks them off one by one. This is the basic plot of “Blood Glacier,” a movie that on one hand can be seen as a straightforward monster flick, and can be interpreted as a metaphor for the unknown, scary future we face with a changing climate on the other hand. Monster movies have often dealt with human fears of the unknown, and anxieties about meddling with nature (Godzilla, anyone?). The killer blood at this melting glacier seems to be Mother Nature retaliating against humanity for threatening her. The metaphor is a bit sloppy, but “Blood Glacier” is definitely an early example of a horror movie about climate change. “Blood Glacier” is available on iTunes and IFC Films on demand.   Spread the...

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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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