Roundup: New Zealand’s ‘Sad and Dirty’ Glaciers, Dead Bodies on Mount Everest, and a Surprise in Greenland

Brutal heat in New Zealand

From the New Zealand Herald:

“New Zealand’s famous glaciers are looking ‘sad and dirty’ after another brutally warm summer, says a scientist who took part in this year’s aerial stocktake.

Each year, the Niwa-led snowline survey checks the health of about 50 glaciers across the Southern Alps.

After the record-hot summer of 2017-18, scientists were struck by how many mountains had been stripped of ice and snow.

The latest flight, undertaken last week, and following New Zealand’s third warmest summer, found many of the glaciers still in a sorry state — and some had disappeared altogether.”

Franz Josef Glacier, Southern Alps, New Zealand (Source: Wikimedia Commons/Jörg Hempel)

Melting glaciers expose bodies of dead climbers on Mount Everest

From theBBC:

“Nearly 300 mountaineers have died on the peak since the first ascent attempt and two-thirds of bodies are thought still to be buried in the snow and ice.

Bodies are being removed on the Chinese side of the mountain, to the north, as the spring climbing season starts.

More than 4,800 climbers have scaled the highest peak on Earth.

‘Because of global warming, the ice sheet and glaciers are fast melting and the dead bodies that remained buried all these years are now becoming exposed,’ said Ang Tshering Sherpa, former president of [the] Nepal Mountaineering Association.

‘We have brought down dead bodies of some mountaineers who died in recent years, but the old ones that remained buried are now coming out.'”

Most of the bodies that have surfaced have been found on the Khumbu Icefall section of Mount Everest. (Source: Flickr/robatwilliams)

Greenland’s Jakobshavn is advancing, slowing, and thickening

From Nature Geoscience: “Jakobshavn Isbrae has been the single largest source of mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet over the last 20 years. During that time, it has been retreating, accelerating, and thinning. Here we use airborne altimetry and satellite imagery to show that since 2016 Jakobshavn has been re-advancing, slowing, and thickening. We link these changes to concurrent cooling of ocean waters in Disko Bay that spill over into Ilulissat Icefjord. Ocean temperatures in the bay’s upper 250 [meters] have cooled to levels not seen since the mid 1980s. Observations and modeling trace the origins of this cooling to anomalous wintertime heat loss in the boundary current that circulates around the southern half of Greenland. Longer time series of ocean temperature, subglacial discharge, and glacier variability strongly suggest that ocean-induced melting at the front has continued to influence glacier dynamics after the disintegration of its floating tongue in 2003. We conclude that projections of Jakobshavn’s future contribution to sea-level rise that are based on glacier geometry are insufficient, and that accounting for external forcing is indispensable.”

Greenland’s Jakobshavn Glacier has been advancing, slowing, and thickening since 2016. (Source: Flickr/Kristine Riskær)

Read More on GlacierHub:

Unearthing Rock Glaciers: Hidden, Hydrological Landforms

What Snow Algae in the Pacific Northwest Could Reveal About Life on Mars

Photo Friday: Mount Baker Is Letting Off Some Steam

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