Posts Tagged "glacier melt"

Roundup: French Presidential Visit, Trek Itinerary, and Dangerous Glacial Lakes

Posted by on Oct 19, 2015 in All Posts, Featured Posts, News, Policy and Economics, Roundup | 0 comments

Roundup: French Presidential Visit, Trek Itinerary, and Dangerous Glacial Lakes

Spread the News:ShareFrench president visits glacier to witness climate change “PARIS — The French president took a few steps on an Icelandic glacier Friday to experience firsthand the damage caused by global warming, ahead of major U.N. talks on climate change in Paris this year. Francois Hollande went to the shrinking Solheimajokull glacier, where the ice has retreated by more than 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) since annual measurements began in 1931.” To read more about the President’s visit, click here.   How to find Yosemite’s disappearing glacier “The Lyell Glacier, once a mile wide and Yosemite’s largest glacier when measured by John Muir in 1872, could melt off and disappear in as soon as five years, according to park geologist Greg Stock, if warm temperatures at high elevations continue. Chronicle outdoors writer Tom Stienstra visited the park to report on the glacier’s vanishing. This is the trek itinerary.” Click here to read more.   Global warming creating dangerous glacier lakes in Himalayas, finds study “As the black clouds heavily pregnant with water vapour hovered over Dehradun on June 15, 2013, it looked ominous. Around 13,000 feet above the sea level, rain was already tanking up Chorabari Lake, a water body created by melting glaciers. On June 16 midnight, the heavy rain caused the lake’s rock bank to collapse, sending down a flash flood that swept through the holy Himalayan pilgrimage site Kedarnath, killing 5,000 people. There are 1,266 such Chorabari lakes in Uttarakhand’s Himalayan regions, some of which have been created fresh by the rapid retreat of glaciers due to global warming, found a study by Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, an autonomous body of the central government.” To read more about the study’s findings, click here.   Spread the...

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Mines in Kyrgyzstan Exacerbate Glacier Advance

Posted by on Aug 20, 2015 in All Posts, Featured Posts, News | 0 comments

Mines in Kyrgyzstan Exacerbate Glacier Advance

Spread the News:ShareMines in Kyrgyzstan contribute to increased glacier advance, according to a new study from Durham University. Over 15 years, the Kumtor gold mine dumped debris in layers as much as 180 meters thick on parts of glaciers. For comparison, 180 meters is about twice the height from the base of the pedestal on which the Statue of Liberty sites to the top of its torch. Researchers looked at glaciers covered by debris from landslides and debris from mines to better understand the impact of glacial processes in the Central Asian country. They found that two glaciers, the Lysii Cirque Glacier and the Davidov Glacier near the Kumtor mine, advanced by 1.2 and 3.2 kilometers, respectively. Most of this movement can be attributed to internal deformation of the ice from the pressure of the added material, rather than to increased sliding at the base of the glacier, where the ice is in contact with the bedrock. “We used high-resolution satellite imagery to map the terminus advance of two glaciers and to map the evolving distribution of mining spoil on the surface of these glaciers,” the authors wrote. “We find not only that glacier ice can have a significant impact upon mining activities, but more importantly, that mining operations can drive significant changes in glacier behavior.” Between 1997 and 2012, the mines dumped more than 775 million tons of rock and ice waste on the surrounding landscape. Under the heavy load of debris, glacial ice became deformed, enhancing ice flow. The new study isn’t the first time the Kumtor mine has been associated with environmental damage. The mining project has been criticized by local communities for contaminating ground and surface water in addition to other negative environmental impacts. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development involved with the project has denied these claims. “Understanding the impact of debris upon glaciers is important not only for gaining insight into past and present glacial response to landslides but also in assessing and mitigating the glaciological, environmental, and infrastructural consequences of mining in glacierized terrain,” the authors wrote. “Increasingly, large-scale mining operations are being developed in glacierized areas, either as glaciers retreat or through and beneath glaciers whilst they are in situ,” they added. “The loss of ice and rock glaciers as a result of mine excavation is a central environmental concern surrounding these developments.” Mining companies in Chile have also dumped waste on glaciers, the article reports, and firms in Canada and Greenland are planning to do so as well. These risks to glaciers may become more frequent, if regulations to protect against them. are not established and enforced. Spread the...

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Tracking Glaciers & Rivers in Bhutan

Posted by on Jul 23, 2015 in All Posts, Featured Posts, Science | 1 comment

Tracking Glaciers & Rivers in Bhutan

Spread the News:ShareLess than a decade back Bhutan transitioned from an absolute monarchy to a democracy. Although right to information was enshrined in their constitution, availing reports and info concerning glaciers, health of rivers and status of hydropower projects remains a challenge to this day. Most government reports are neither published, nor readily uploaded on to websites, and therefore seldom available for public consumption. Keeping this in mind, we at the South Asia program of International Rivers, a nonprofit, compiled ‘Bhutan Rivers Watch’, a one-stop repository of blogs, reports, analysis and latest news from the Himalayan kingdom. Bhutan, a global hot spot of hydropower development, has 76 identified dam sites with a potential to generate 23,760-megawatts. Most of these projects are in the planning stage, while Bhutan looks to expedite undertakings that will take them towards the 10,000-megawatt mark in the next decade. These interventions will make significant changes in the riverine and physical environment. Bhutanese rivers are glacier fed, and it is estimated that glaciers cover approximately 1,300 square kilometers of sovereign territory. The Government has been tracking changes in climate by monitoring precipitation, glacial melt, and the changing hydrology of the main river basins. At a meeting organized by International Rivers in Bhutan last year, we learned from officials that glaciers are receding 20-30 meters each year, and in some cases there has been a 75-cm thinning of the ice sheet. But what is most worrisome for the scientific community, and decision makers, is the occurrence of glacial lake outburst floods. In the mid 1980’s Bhutan and India conducted joint surveys of glaciers and glacial lakes and concluded that there was no danger to downstream communities. But sadly a glacial lake outburst killed more than 20 people in October 1994, as a raging wall of water wreaked havoc in the upper reaches of the Punatsangchhu River basin. Since then many field studies have been conducted, and the government of Bhutan has been monitoring the glaciers and glacial lakes to ascertain potential impacts on hydropower dams as well as communities living near the river. We now know that more than 20 outburst floods have occurred in the past two hundred years. According to a 2012 conference held in Thimphu, the nation’s capital, 25 glacial lakes have been identified as ticking time bombs and potentially dangerous. Given the remote locations, officials of the government of Bhutan travel often 3 days by foot to monitor these glacial lakes. These floods could cause dam breaks, which would be catastrophic not just in Bhutan, but also more than a hundred kilometers downstream in India. We know it is important to keep people in the loop regarding decisions that impact river health and public safety. This lies at the heart of our efforts, and we’ve dedicated an entire page to tracking planned, under construction and commissioned hydropower projects in Bhutan. To view the latest status of projects, click here. The seventh article of the Bhutanese Constitution declares: “A Bhutanese citizen shall have the right to information”. Yet, impact assessment studies, for instance, aren’t available in public domain, and as a result there is little public debate and scrutiny on how climate change, receding glaciers and glacial lakes can impact infrastructure such as dams and hydropower projects. This is because of supporting clauses in the constitution that state: “All persons in Bhutan shall have the right to initiate appropriate proceedings in the Supreme Court or High Court for the enforcement of the rights conferred by this Article, subject to section 22 of this Article and procedures prescribed by law.” This section establishes notions of...

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Artist Diane Burko Ties Together Art and Science

Posted by on Jul 15, 2015 in All Posts, Art/Culture, Featured Posts | 0 comments

Artist Diane Burko Ties Together Art and Science

Spread the News:ShareThe nexus between art and science first featured in artist and photographer Diane Burko’s work in 2006. Since then, Burko has traveled around the world to capture monumental landscapes and features. She has spent time in Norway, Greenland and the Antarctic Peninsula, documenting and bearing witness to the global disappearance of glaciers.  Burko agreed to an interview with GlacierHub, where she discusses her journey to communicate science and dispel doubt through art. GH: What first inspired you to draw connections between art and science? DB: I think I am “science curious”.  As a landscape artist, monumental geological environments, dramatic vistas, aerial views, have always captured my imagination. Perhaps growing up in a New York City apartment may be why…  The Grand Canyon was one of my first subjects in the 70’s. Understanding its deep history – how it was formed was crucial. When I did a series on Volcanoes in 2000, learning about plate tectonics was part of my process. Knowing how a landscape is put together, the geology, is as important to me as experiencing it by walking, climbing or flying over it… GH: Why is it important to bring together art and science? DB: I believe that art can communicate science. My obsession with nature at its most awe-inspiring naturally leads me to want to preserve and protect it.  That’s why I want to show how our environment is being threatened by climate change. My strategy is to seduce with beauty and then subtly insert awareness in the viewer by utilizing visual/scientific prompts I’ve garnered through my interactions with climatologists, my observations in the field and my own research. The visual devices (literal and metaphoric) employed are as simple as presenting chronological images of glaciers receding in multiple panels. Or more mysterious and abstract images redolent with the idea of the landscape as body –  as mortal with potential to decay, contrasting ancient rocks with melting ice. Landsat maps and geological diagrams, and recessional lines are also strategic devices I’ve employed. GH: Tell us about your trip to Argentina and Antarctica. What challenges did you face? What part of the trip struck you the most? DB: In January 2015 I was invited to join 26 educators with “Students on Ice” a nonprofit organization offering student expedition experiences to Antarctica and the Arctic. This was my second expedition there – the other in 2013. After the voyage we landed back in Ushuaia and boarded a plane to El Calafate. Having been to the two largest ice fields in the world (Antarctica and Greenland) I was eager to see the third largest one in Patagonia. Initially my goal was to go to climb on Perito Marino, which has a 3-mile front glacial front. Ironically this is one of the few glaciers that is not receding However it was Viedma Glacier that totally took my breadth away. Wearing crampons we climbed very carefully on top of this glacier for hours because it was really treacherous. Crevasses were everywhere around me as I captured some incredible images Back in the studio, I am working on a series on Upsala, which was the third glacier we visited – also receding. GH: How do people respond to your work? DB: They seem to respond at the exhibitions. And they participate when I give talks on my artistic practice at the intersection of art and science. GH: The world of ice is at times colorless, white ice and dark rock, but the blue keeps appearing. How do you work with the color? DB: I just embrace it – attempting to capture it’s magic through my...

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Roundup: Glacier dynamics, retreat in Turkey, and theological meaning

Posted by on Jul 13, 2015 in All Posts, Featured Posts, Roundup, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Roundup: Glacier dynamics, retreat in Turkey, and theological meaning

Spread the News:ShareBefore and after: Glacier dynamics and the collapse of ice shelves in Antartica  “Following the disintegration of the Larsen B Ice Shelf, Antarctic Peninsula, in 2002, regular surveillance of its ∼20 tributary glaciers has revealed a response which is varied and complex in both space and time. The major outlets have accelerated and thinned, smaller glaciers have shown little or no change, and glaciers flowing into the remnant Scar Inlet Ice Shelf have responded with delay… Through this study, we seek to improve confidence in our numerical models and their ability to capture the complex mechanical coupling between floating ice shelves and grounded ice.” Read more here.   Turkish glaciers disappearing “Researchers and citizens have known for some time that Turkey’s glaciers are shrinking. Now scientists have calculated the losses and found that more than half of the ice cover in this mountainous country has vanished since the 1970s. A team of researchers from Ege University (Turkey) and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center analyzed four decades of Landsat satellite data to document this steady decline. The team, led by Dogukan Dogu Yavasli (Ege), published their results in June 2015 in the journal Remote Sensing of Environment.” More here.   Central Asian expedition revisited “The De Filippi expedition reached Bombay in August 1913, and, during the next 12 months, carried out extensive explorations of Western Himalaya, Karakorum, and Chinese Turkestan. There are several reasons for remembering the De Filippi expedition to Central Asia: (1) a real interest in a past and present neuralgic area comprising several states, in particular Pakistan, China, and India, (2) the renewed attention in the subject of exploration and Italy’s special contribution in this field, (3) the need—now finally acknowledged—to protect and make appropriate use of our scientific heritage, and (4) an interest in new forms of tourism… One hundred years after the expedition, we focus the attention on the scientific results obtained by persons that we do not hesitate to define as extraordinary, but now partly forgotten.” More here. Spread the...

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