Roundup: The Hydropower Potential In Glacier Retreat, A Glacier Children’s Book, and How Glaciers Affect Kyrgyz Pasture Selection

Large Hydropower and Water-storage Potential in Future Glacier-free Basins

A major study published in Nature takes a global look at the hydropower potential of deglacierized water basins. As glaciers retreat in high mountain areas, they sometimes expose areas which can be used as hydropower reservoirs by holding snowmelt and runoff from rain. From the abstract:

“Climate change is causing widespread glacier retreat, and much attention is devoted to negative impacts such as diminishing water resources, shifts in runoff seasonality, and increases in cryosphere-related hazards. Here we focus on a different aspect, and explore the water-storage and hydropower potential of areas that are expected to become ice-free during the course of this century…Although local impacts would need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis, the results indicate that deglacierizing basins could make important contributions to national energy supplies in several countries, particularly in High Mountain Asia.”

Read the study here.

The O’Shaughnessy Dam in California’s deglacierized Hetch Hetchy Valley is a source of hydropower and water for the city of San Francisco (Source: King of Hearts/WikiCommons).

A Glacial Erratic is the Star of a New Children’s Book

A children’s book entitled Old Rock (Is Not Boring), written an illustrated by Deb Pilutti, features rocks and glaciers. From a review of Old Rock (Is Not Boring):

“Old Rock sits “in the same spot, at the edge of a clearing in the middle of a pine forest” every day, and the other forest residents insist the rock must be bored. After Hummingbird, Spotted Beetle, and Tall Pine regale Old Rock with tales of their adventures, Old Rock relays a rich history in which he was shot from a volcano, hid dinosaurs from predators, survived an ice age, traveled frozen in a glacier, and rolled onto plains populated with mastodons.”

Old Rock (is not boring) is a children’s book written and illustrated by Deb Pilutti (Source: Deb Pilutti/Twitter)

Kyrgyz Herders Follow Glacial Melt, Study Finds

Kyrgyz herders in Central Asia use proximity to glaciers as a criteria for selecting which kinds of pasture are best for their flocks, according to a recent study in the journal Ecology and Society. From the abstract:

“Consensus on the state of rangelands is often elusive. This is especially true in the primarily agropastoral former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan. Some argue Kyrgyz rangeland is being rapidly degraded by overgrazing. However, poor data and climatic changes confound this assessment. Thus there is contention amongst researchers, state officials, and local agropastoralists about the etiology and appropriate degree of concern regarding changes in flora and landscape patterns. This lack of consensus makes pasture management difficult for local elected managers. In this study, we use audiovisual primes, structured interview tasks, and consensus analysis to examine the degree of agreement among local agropastoralists of Naryn oblast about (a) the nature of several degradation-ambiguous plant and landscape types found in the area, and (b) indicators of “good” pasture. We find relatively little interparticipant agreement on high-resolution details, but a pattern of consensus regarding (i) a refutation of select species as indicators of degradation, as well as (ii) apparent shared heuristics for determining what makes for good, versus bad, pasture. We consider socio-historical and cognitive drivers of these patterns, and close with a discussion of implications for management.

Read the full study here.

High summer pasture in Naryn oblast (Source: Levine et al/Ecology and Society).

Read More on GlacierHub:

Indigenous Activist Among Those Killed In Iran’s Takedown of Civilian Airliner

What the Yak Herders of Northern Bhutan Are Saying About Global Warming

Mongolia’s Cashmere Goats Graze a Precarious Steppe

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