Roundup: Glacier Lakes, Narwhals, and Water Stress

Glacier Lake Deepening in the Himalayas

From Water: “This paper investigates physical processes in the four sub-basins of Ngozumpa glacier’s terminal Spillway Lake for the period 2012–2014 in order to characterize lake deepening and mass transfer processes. Quantifying the growth and deepening of this terminal lake is important given its close vicinity to Sherpa villages down-valley… In areas of rapid deepening, where low mean bottom temperatures prevail, thin debris cover or bare ice is present. This finding is consistent with previously reported localized regions of lake deepening and is useful in predicting future deepening.”

You can read more about glacier lake deepening here.

Overview of the Tsho Rolpa Lake in the Rowaling Valley, Spillway Lake in the Gokyo Valley, and Imja Lake in the Khumbu Valley (Source: Water).


Narwhals To Help Monitor Melting Glaciers

From New Scientist: “An iconic whale species will soon be aiding climate change research. Narwhals are spending more time near melting sea ice and researchers hope to exploit this new behavior by tagging the mammals with temperature sensors to help us accurately monitor underwater sea ice melt for the first time.”

You can read more about narwhals–marine mammals, once confused with unicorns–and glacier monitoring here.

A Narwhal (Source: New Scientist).


A Study of Water Stress in Kyrgyzstan

From Water: “Water vulnerabilities in Central Asia are affected by a complex combination of climate-sensitive water sources, trans-boundary political tensions, infrastructure deficiencies and a lack of water management organization from community to federal levels. This study aims to clarify the drivers of water stress across the 440 km Naryn River basin, headwater stem to the Syr Darya and the disappearing North Aral Sea… Surveys indicate that current water stress is primarily a function of water management and access issues resulting from the clunky transition from Soviet era large-scale agriculture to post-Soviet small-plot farming. Snow and ice meltwaters play a dominant role in the surface and ground water supplies to downstream communities across the study’s 4220 m elevation gradient, so future increases to water stress due to changes in volume and timing of water supply is likely given frozen waters’ high sensitivities to warming temperatures. The combined influence of social, political and climate-induced pressures on water supplies in the Naryn basin suggest the need for proactive planning and adaptation strategies, and warrant concern for similar melt-sourced Central Asian watersheds.”

You can read about this challenging situation here.

The Naryn river in Kyrgyzstan (Source: Nurdjen/Creative Commons).

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