Controversy Over Resort in Jumbo Valley

After two decades, a proposed Jumbo Glacier Resort in the East Kootenays of British Columbia continues to be controversial among local communities. Now, a documentary about the campaign against the resort highlights the problems the resort could pose to the mountainous landscape.

When the Jumbo Glacier Resort was originally proposed in the 1990s, it was approved under the Environmental Assessment Act of the Province of British Columbia. The resort would feature lifts up to 3,419 metres (11,217 feet) and more than 6,000 beds. It would be the only ski resort in North America to be open year round.

For the fifteen companies behind the project, the resort could rake tens of millions of dollars into the region annually. But many people in local communities think that the project would be a disaster.There are already a number of ski resorts in the nearby mountains, providing opportunities to participate in the sport.

“The problem runs deeper than environmental concerns: there’s a real sense that the Jumbo resort will rip the heart from one of the most cherished wilderness areas in the East Kootenays,” Andrew Findlay, a Canadian journalist, wrote in a blog post. Opponents of the project say that it would desecrate indigenous lands  occupied by First Nations long before European settlement, but the issue is complex. The Shuswap First Nations Band, the community that lives closest to the glacier, approved the project for the economic opportunities it could bring, while the Ktunaxa First Nation is against the idea. For the Ktunaxa people, the resort would tear a hole in the middle of grizzly bear territory. Grizzly bears, who hold spiritual significance for the Ktunaxa, are threatened. Environmentalists are also concerned about the effects a large resort would have on the species. Individual bears need as much as 1,000 square kilometers of range, but the resort would fragment that range for many bears.

Environmentalists, First Nations, local communities and skiers say they will continue to fight against the Jumbo Glacier Resort. Last year, Canada’s Environment Minister Mary Polak said the  project had not sufficiently advanced. Glacier Resorts, Ltd., the company behind the project, will have to apply for a new environmental certificate in order to continue, she added.

The announcement was a victory for the 90 percent of people from the area who oppose the project. For now, they can continue to visit the Jumbo Glacier — relatively free of human development.

“In the midst of Jumbo you feel like a really small person,” said Leah Evans, a skier who has visited the Jumbo Glacier since she was 14, in the Jumbo Wild documentary. “When you tune into that silence, you become part of the landscape. It’s like a part of you is waking up.”

Watch the trailer here:

Jumbo Wild from Patagonia on Vimeo.

Ski Resorts Seek Alternatives

Artificial Lake at roughly 2500m, Alps, France. Photo by: will_cyclist/Flickr
Artificial Lake at roughly 2500m, Alps, France. Photo by: will_cyclist/Flickr

As snow rapidly disappears from high mountains, ski and winter sport resorts are looking for alternatives to keep their struggling businesses alive.

The world’s skiing industry is worth $60 to $70 billion, some estimates say. About 44 percent of ski-related travel is in the alps, while 21 percent is in the United States.

In just 30 years, ski resorts in the Alps have seen 30 percent less snow, according to regional authorities. At the same time, temperatures have risen by 1.6 degrees Celsius since the 1960’s and glaciers in the region have lost 26 percent of their surface.

For professional skiers, who train on glaciers, this could be bad news. If temperatures rise to 2 or 3 degrees higher, glaciers below 3,000 mertres will melt away, experts from the Hydrology Transfer and Environment Research Laboratory in Grenoble say.


Already, Val Thorens, the highest ski resort in Europe in Savoie, France, has closed off its glacier to skiers. But the resort continues to trigger avalanches on the glacier to replenish its slopes below, depleting its glacier. “Before we trained at a very low elevation, around 2,400 meters, even in July,” French Ski champion Fabienne Serrat, who won two golds medals at the World Championships in 1974, told AFP. “Today many youths who compete go to South America [to train].”

Val Thorens, France Photo by: Leo-seta/Flickr.
Val Thorens, France Photo by: Leo-seta/Flickr.

Instead, resorts are investing in dog sledding, snowshoeing and sledding to keep tourists coming. Franck Vernay, first deputy mayor of Biot, a small village in Haute-Savoie, in the Rhône-Alpes region, said the ski season in his commune has been closed for three seasons because no profits were being made. “We haven’t given up on skiing but we’ve got to try to lure people in other ways. Otherwise its certain death,” he added.  

In other parts of the world, like California, ski resorts are looking into other high mountain sports, like biking and rafting. Ski seasons have been shortened, so many resorts are now open year-round so they can stay afloat. They are also developing ropes courses, zip lines and disk golf.

“It’s not just the tourists going to ski or mountain-bike in these elite destinations, but there are also entire communities relying on hotel jobs, rafting jobs, working at a ski lift,” Diana Madson, executive director of Mountain Pact, an organisation that empowers mountain communities, told the Los Angeles Times. “There are a lot of people who are vulnerable to these impacts.”

Helicopter Crashes in New Zealand Glacier

A helicopter flying over the Fox Glacier in New Zealand crashed during bad weather last weekend, killing all seven passengers. Four of the victims were British tourists and two were Australian. The pilot, who had 3,000 hours of flying experience, was from New Zealand.

The main body of the helicopter was found crushed between blocks of ice the size of houses and debris from the crash was spread across 100 meters. Rugged conditions made it difficult for rescuers to retrieve the bodies.

The region has experienced bad weather since the beginning of the tourist season, with low hanging clouds and rains. A local official, Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn, told the Telegraph, a British newspaper.

Glaciers on New Zealand’s Southern Island have retreated in recent years, forcing tourism companies to fly tourists to glaciers by helicopter, Kokshoorn added. Tourists typically take a ten-minute flight to the Fox Glacier and walk around for half an hour before returning.

Since 2008, there have been seven plane and helicopter accidents on glaciers in New Zealand. Earlier this year a helicopter crashed on the Poerua Glacier in Westland National Park. The three people on board survived. Four tourists survived when their helicopter rolled on the Richardson Glacier in 2014 and in 2013 11 people were rescued when two helicopters collided on the Tyndall Glacier.

“We’re hurting. It’s a real tragedy today,” Rob Jewell, chairman of the Glacier Country Tourism Group, said in a statement. “We’ll just do what we can to make this as easy as we can for everybody, and obviously our thoughts are with those who lost their lives today and their families and friends.”

Questions have been raised about whether the helicopter should have been allowed to fly under bad conditions. Officials have been sent to the scene to investigate the incident.

Norwegian Ice Tunnels Address Climate and Mythology

At the heart of the Juvflye plateau in Norway, icy tunnels are carved in the Juvfonne snowdrift. The tunnels attract tourists, who are there to learn about climate change, Norse mythology, history and nature as part of the Mimisbrunnr Climate Park.

The park was named after the well of knowledge in Norse Mythology. According to the myth, Odin, father of all gods, gave up an eye so he could drink from the well, which was guarded by Mimir, the wise giant.

Melting glaciers in the mountains of Oppland County, where the park is situated, revealed more than 700 ancient artifacts. Under the snow and ice, researchers found a leather shoe, a knitted tunic and hunting tools from the Bronze Age. As visitors make their way through 60 metres of icy tunnels in the park, they discover this history, which spans deep into 6000 year old ice.

Visitors walk through tunnels designed by artist Peter Istad and encounter a number of artifacts preserved in ice blocks. The tunnel remains at -2.5 degrees Celsius year-round. Most of the artifacts, however, are kept in a museum 30 minutes away.

“The speed of the ice melting is formidable and alarming, but the number of new archaeological objects give a unique possibility for improving the knowledge and for interpreting the story about the early inhabitants and users of these mountain areas,” Norwegian researchers wrote in a recent paper analysing the significance of the park and its potential for raising awareness about climate issues.

The project was developed by the National Mountain Institution, private tourist companies, research institutions and public authorities to enhance climate research, but also engage the public in climate consciousness. In the park, visitors are also invited to enjoy an outdoor opera and stunning views at 1900 metres above sea level.

Though the park can accommodate 20,000 people, it only received 3,400 visitors in 2014. Most of its funding comes from the public and private sectors and the park itself has yet to achieve commercial success. Still, the park presents opportunities for cross-platform collaboration, Norwegian researchers said.

“An important outcome is the fruitful exchange of experiences, between public and private partners, tourism and science interests, amateurs and professionals, and between local, regional and national actors,” the authors wrote. “The network has shown to be quite dynamic.”

Glacier Past Unveiled Through Sediments

Svalbard: Ny Ålesund. Note: this lake was not part of the study. Courtesy of James Stringer/Flickr
Svalbard: Ny Ålesund. Note: this lake was not part of the study. Courtesy of James Stringer/Flickr

Researchers have long used preserved sediment layers in glaciers as time records to understand the climate of the past. But now, researchers, publishing in Quaternary Science Reviews, have used lake sediments in glacier-fed Lake Hajeren in Svalbard to recreate glacier variability during the Holocene period.

The sediments, which were deposited over millennia, have been undisturbed, allowing researchers to develop a continuous and full record of glaciers as early as 11,700 calibrated Before Present (BP). The dates were calculated using radiocarbon calibration, meaning that the dates have been compared to other radiocarbon samples. Atmospheric carbon varies over time, so it does not necessarily correspond to the current Gregorian calendar. By comparing different radiocarbon samples, researchers hope to develop a more accurate dating system.

The researchers’ complete record revealed a number of new findings about the advance and presence of the Svalbard glacier. Sediments in Lake Hajeren indicated that between 3380 and 3230 cal BP there was a glacier advance that lasted more than 100 years. The glacier advance had never before been recorded.

Researchers also noted that during the deglaciation period before 11,300 cal BP, glaciers in Svalbard remained, and that between 7.4 and 6.7 thousand cal BP, glaciers disappeared. It wasn’t until 4250 cal BP that glacier reformation began. The variability in glacier presence and formation can be attributed to pulses from the melting Laurentide Ice Sheet, episodes of cooling in the Atlantic and reduced isolation during summers.

“These findings highlight the climate-sensitivity of the small glaciers studied, which rapidly responded to climate shifts,” the authors wrote.

Their research contributes to a body of work looking to better understand the driving forces behind climate variability in the Arctic, the region most affected by climate change. The Arctic also has a disproportional impact on the global climate compared to other parts of the world.

Arctic response to climate change can also be used to develop climate models that estimate the impacts of global warming.

“The rapid response of the small Hajeren glaciers improves our understanding of climate variability on Svalbard, suggesting that the Holocene was punctuated by major centennial-scale perturbations,” the authors concluded. “As such, this study underlines the value of glacier-fed lake sediments in contextualizing Arctic climate dynamics.”

Doctor Accused of Taking Artifacts from Glacier

Hiker and tent at Hamilton Lake on High Sierra Trail, courtesy of Miguel Vieria/Flickr
Hiker and tent at Hamilton Lake on High Sierra Trail, courtesy of Miguel Vieria/Flickr. Note: the image was not taken where Bourne found the artifact.

A doctor from Mono County, California has been accused of looting Native American artifacts from a melting glacier on public and tribal lands in Death Valley National Park.

Jonathan Bourne, an anesthesiologist, was indicted on 21 counts of looting following a yearlong investigation that began after he posted photos of himself finding a wooden bow out of a receding glacier in the High Sierra. Dart points, obsidian cutting tools, stone tablets and glass beads were also among Bourne’s alleged findings. Some of these artifacts are believed to have been removed from a cremation and burial site in the Humboldt–Toiyabe National Forest.

“Collecting artifacts on public lands is not harmless fun — it’s a serious crime,” Greg Haverstock, a U.S. Bureau of Land Management archaeologist told the Los Angeles Times. “It damages archaeological records and the shared heritage of our nation. It also impacts tribal members who regard the removal of such items as sacrilegious.”

Archaeologists reported wood splinters they found in the glacier matched the wood in Bourne’s bow. Investigators from the U.S. Forest Service found about 30,000 ancient items in a search of his mansion, according to authorities.

Bob Burd, a resident of Fresno who organised the hike where Bourne found the bow, wrote on a hiking club website that Bourne used stones to cut through the ice that surrounded the bow. No mention has been made of which Native American community the bow comes from.

Bourne’s lawyer, Mark Coleman said Bourne “spotted a piece of wood, which appeared to be recently exposed from an ice patch as a result of global warming. Recognizing that if the item had any historical significance it would quickly decay from exposure, Dr. Bourne recovered the item.”

Last week, the doctor pleaded not guilty in court and will return before the judge later this year. If convicted, Bourne’s charges could amount to 98 years in prison and $2.03 million in fines. It is not the first case to address the unlawful removal of Native American artifacts from public and tribal lands.

Roundup: Climate Park, Microbes and Variability

Park in Norway Aims  to Raise Climate Awareness

“Increased ice melting revealed in 2006–2007 many reminiscences of ancient human activity around ice patches near Mt Galdhøpiggen, Norway’s highest mountain peak. The public limited company ‘Klimapark 2469 AS’ was established to develop a heritage interpretation product and to study climate change. A 60-metre long ice tunnel is excavated in the ice patch Juvfonna, where guided walks and a display presenting climate change, archeology, Norse mythology, and glaciology are offered. […] An important outcome is the fruitful exchange of experiences, between public and private partners, tourism and science interests, amateurs and professionals, and between local, regional and national actors.”

Read more about the park here.

Microbial Life Thrives in Glacier Foreland Soil

“To reveal temporal variability of archaeal and bacterial abundance, community structure, as well as microbial biomass and activity, soils of different ages (young, intermediate, mature) were sampled along a glacier foreland in the Austrian Central Alps, at the beginning (summer) and at the end (autumn) of the plant growing season. […] Our results indicate that temporal variations of microbial activities, biomass, and abundance in alpine glacier foreland soils distinctly increased along with the age of the soils and highlight the importance of sampling date for ecological studies.”

A sterile swab is being used to sample sediment melting out from a glacier in Iceland. Photo courtesy of David Elliot/Flickr.
A sterile swab is being used to sample sediment melting out from a glacier in Iceland. Photo courtesy of David Elliot/Flickr.

Read the full study here.

Sediments in Lake Reveals Clues About Glacier Variability

“The Arctic is warming faster than anywhere else on Earth. Holocene proxy time-series are increasingly used to put this amplified response in perspective by understanding Arctic climate processes beyond the instrumental period. However, available datasets are scarce, unevenly distributed and often of coarse resolution. Glaciers are sensitive recorders of climate shifts and variations in rock-flour production transfer this signal to the lacustrine sediment archives of downstream lakes. Here, we present the first full Holocene record of continuous glacier variability on Svalbard from glacier-fed Lake Hajeren. This reconstruction is based on an undisturbed lake sediment core that covers the entire Holocene and resolves variability on centennial scales owing to 26 dating points.”

Ny Ålesund, Svalbard,  courtesy of James Stringer/Flickr
Ny Ålesund, Svalbard, courtesy of James Stringer/Flickr

Take a look at the study here.

The Microscopic Life of Glaciers

Svalbard Glacier, courtesy of Airflore/Flickr.
Svalbard Glacier, courtesy of Airflore/Flickr.

Though it can be hard to imagine that cold, barren-looking glaciers are conducive to life, glaciers are actually teeming with organisms. Glacier surfaces are filled with cylindrical holes called cyroconite holes, in which melt water accumulates and micro-algae and cyanobacteria  thrive.

Now, a new study published in Biogeosciences has taken a closer look at these complex ecosystems to better understand the interactions between the organisms that inhabit this icy space. They found that Svalbard glaciers that received large quantities of deposits from local areas tended to have large amounts of microalgae. These microalgae can create large colonies to protect them from invertebrate grazers like tardigrades, minute animals also known as water bears, and other microscopic animals like rotifers and ciliates. Large microalgae colonies can protect themselves from the filtration feeding strategy used by rotifers.

The researchers studied these mini-ecosystems on four glaciers in Svalbard, a Norwegian Archipelago. Each sample had a different level of exposure to nutrients, water depth and the degree to which the cyroconite holes were isolated so that the researchers could separately analyze the effects of environmental factors and other biological interactions, such as animals grazing on the microalgae.

Under a microscope, the researchers identified the different species of tardigrades and rotifers. They also measured the density of microalgae clusters and the types of microalgae and cyanobacteria.

Colony of rotifers, courtesy of Specious Reasons/Flickr
Colony of rotifers, courtesy of Specious Reasons/Flickr

In glaciers farther away from glacier-free land, the microalgae species differed from glaciers closer to land. Species variability could be attributed to wind transport, the researchers suggest.

“We propose that selection occurs because polar cyanobacteria are often associated with dust in soil, and thus easily transported by 20 wind,” they wrote. Levels of nitrogen deposits from bird guano and tundra may also play a role in determining which species of microalgae lived where, but the researchers felt this factor was less important than wind transportation.

The species and quantities of grazers, on the other hand, did not vary much from site to site. Grazer types were also correlated with the types of microalgae found in different cyroconite holes. Rotifers tended to live around Zygnemales and Chlorococcales, while tardigrades were usually found around larger Zygnemales.

“The high abundances of tardigrades, rotifers, and ciliates, including genera with different feeding strategies, have been found and suggest a complex food web between more trophic levels than measured in the present study,” the authors wrote. “Feeding experiments and analysis of stomach contents may help to bring a more detailed picture of this yet hardly known food web.”

Glacier Lake Bursts in Alaska

When Paul Gowen, 83, saw turquoise-green water spilling into the Frederick Sound and Wrangell Narrows in Alaska at the end of last month, he knew a glacier lake on the Baird Glacier had burst. Further up the Frederick Sound, residents noticed a larger quantity of icebergs and stronger currents.

“This is amazing, this turquoise color as far as we can see on Frederick Sound,” he told the local radio station, K-FSK, at the time. “It’s very unusual to have this much outwash of color.”

Outburst floods on glaciers are not uncommon — water accumulates within the ice or in dips, but eventually breaks through the ice barrier holding it in. The turquoise-green colour of the water comes from sediments that tend to accumulate in glacier lakes, often called glacial flour or milk. Climate change is expected to increase the risk of Glacial Lake Outburst Flooding as glacier melt accelerates, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

The last time a lake burst on the Baird Glacier was 1991, though the event was much smaller. Between 2000 and 2009, the glacier had lost 10 to 20 metres of thickness.  Later, glaciologist Mauri Pelto reported in 2013 that two large lakes 400-600 metres were expanding.

Closer investigation from the U.S. Forest Service in the area found that the most recent September flood likely originated in the Witches Cauldron branch of the glacier.

“There’s no water,” Jim Baichtal, Geologist for the U.S. Forest Service said. “It’s all gone and it looks like there’s been a tremendous amount of collapse of the surface of the ice.”

The glacier’s surface has new crevasses, sinkholes, and fractures. According to Baichtal, the surface may have sunk 50 or 60 feet after the flood.

Government officials will have to keep an eye on the glacier, as it will be hard to predict whether another flood is likely.

“You can really have a situation where a place essentially gets safer in terms of natural hazards or you can have the opposite,” said Martin Truffer, a glaciologist at the University of Alaska.



Rhone Watershed At Risk from Climate Change

Rhône's source - Furkapass - Switzerland. Courtesy of Marle M./Flickr
Rhône’s source – Furkapass – Switzerland. Courtesy of Marle M./Flickr

Researchers, policy experts and agency managers have long recognized that water resources are influenced both by global climate processes and by regional environmental dynamics.  In a close examination of an economically important region in the Swiss Alps, reseachers recently found that land use change have a much smaller impact on glacier and snow melt than climate change. An assessment of stream flow during different times of year also revealed a lower peak flow and an earlier start to peak flows driven by melting snow and glaciers. The findings support previous research on annual melt in the region, and strengthen the understanding of the causes of the changes. By emphasizing the importance of climate change, this research can help shape policies to address declining water resources.

Water flowing from high altitudes in the Alps plays a significant role in Switzerland’s tourism industry, hydroelectricity production and feeds into the Rhone River and Lake Geneva. Every summer, runoff from snowmelt and the Rhone Glacier enters the Rhone River, which, at 167.5 kilometers in length, is one of the longest and most important in the country.

“The entire upper Rhone watershed is of paramount importance because 11 large hydropower plants are located in this watershed,” the authors wrote. “Therefore, a model could lead to a better understanding of the current inflow situation and scenario analysis could help in planning better downstream water management.”

By using data to create land maps and developing models, researchers from Stanford University, the University of Geneva and the Wegener Center for Climate and Global Change in Graz, Austria, found that if the world continues on a business as usual trajectory in which greenhouse gas emissions are not curbed, streamflow from the Swiss Alps will be greatly reduced as a result of glacier loss. Climate change will also lead to reduced agricultural production, which in turn will promote forest growth as farmers take lands out of cultivation. This change will also impact stream flow, since trees will absorb precipitation and reduce runoff into streams, though the impact of climate change was found to be more significant. This importance could be related to lower levels of land use change in high altitudes, the authors concluded.

The Rhone Glacier, courtesy of Ivo Jansch/Flickr.
The Rhone Glacier, courtesy of Ivo Jansch/Flickr.

Models were developed to assess glacier melt and land use change for two periods, between 2011 and 2025, and between 2026 and 2050. The models included a number of  physical processes, including ocean precipitation, transpiration, snow melt and glacier melt. Researchers also used a Soil and Water Assessment Tool to determine water flow.

“Since the runoff in this watershed is driven by snow and glacier melt, the early melt could lead to several consequences, the most severe of which is on hydropower based energy production,” the authors wrote. “Early melt will cause an early filling of reservoirs and result in a shortage during peak flows. Therefore, the result obtained from this study can be useful for water management in the Rhone Valley.” In this way, their findings correspond to other studies elsewhere in  Europe, in Latin America and Asia, which also show that glacier retreat will have negative effects on hydropower–a source of renewable energy which could reduced the dependence of global economies on fossil fuels. Studies such as these are thus of great importance for formulating responses to climate change.


France and Italy Argue Over Disputed Glacier Territory

Aiguille du Midi, Mont-Blanc, courtesy of Cristian Bortes/flickr
Aiguille du Midi, Mont-Blanc, courtesy of Cristian Bortes/flickr

Disputed territory on Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps, raised buried tensions between Italy and France earlier this month after the mayor of Chamonix, in France, blocked off access to a dangerous glacier on what Italians claim as their own territory.

The Mayor, Eric Fournier, closed a gate at the entrance of the Giant Glacier at 3500 meters, saying the route beyond it was unsafe. For years the French and Italian sides have argued about access to the area, which the French consider too dangerous for climbers. The Italians, who installed the gate, say warning signs should be enough to discourage inexperienced climbers. Every year, 30,000 people attempt to climb the mountain and about 20 climbers died in 2014 alone.

“[The French] removed hazard signs that we had put in place after the massive influx of tourists in recent months,” Fabrizia Derriard, mayor of Courmayeur in Italy, told the Independent. “They also closed the gate, which makes it dangerous for climbers who now have to climb over a barrier to get to the other side.”

Both countries disagree about where France ends and Italy starts. France claims its territory extends to the start of the glacier while Italy claims French territory begins 300 meters away.

The Mont Blanc Massif, courtesy of Tom Fahy/Flickr.
The Mont Blanc Massif, courtesy of Tom Fahy/Flickr.

The Giant Glacier is not the only glacier that caught in the middle of territorial disputes. When Ötzi the Iceman, a mummified body from 3300 BCE, was found in a glacier in the Ötztal Alps between Italy and Austria, disputes about which country Ötzi should belong to arose. Though he was found by Austrian climbers, Ötzi was eventually placed in a museum in Italy.

On the border between India and Pakistan, the Siachen Glacier is in disputed territory. One year ago, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the glacier after the two countries exchanged fire over the glacier and took 20 civilian lives.

As dynamic landscape features that melt and shift, glaciers can  create problems if governments have decided to make them serve to delimit borders.  Glaciers also tend to be high in the mountains and can be difficult to access, so they are not always mapped with the precision that international agreements may require. The dispute over the three peaks of Mont Blanc has been going on for 150 years, in a region of the world that is well-mapped and that has strong international institutions. It thus serves as a reminder that other glacier regions may provoke international disagreements, starting with issues as small as the location of a gate.

Beer Funds Glacier Research

What do you get when you mix research with a beer company? Deja Brew, the taste of a 1962 batch of Kokanee beer.

Brian Menounos (source: University of Northern British Columbia)
Brian Menounos (source: University of Northern British Columbia)

In exchange for five liters of meltwater from 1962, the Kokanee Beer company agreed to contribute $10,000 dollars to fund glacier research by Dr. Brian Menounos of the University of Northern British Columbia. The money has been given with no strings attached, Menounos told GlacierHub.

“We don’t endorse products but welcome any industry to contribute to funding research,” he said. “Glaciers are a shared resource and if we can get the word out about why the public should care about them, all the better.”

Like rings within tree trunks, layers within glaciers indicate snowfall from year to year. From these layers, Menounos was able to find ice at the depths associated with the year Kokanee beer was founded, so that a limited edition glacier beer could be brewed from ice from snow that fell then.

Menounos hopes this collaboration will call attention to the urgency of melting glaciers worldwide.

“Like many environmental topics we can’t wait for policy makers to act,” he told GlacierHub in an email. “Politicians typically get elected for four year. Human-induced climate change has accumulated over the past 200 years and will continue unless we commit to substantial mitigation of greenhouse gases. The public’s involvement and interest in a particular topic makes politicians sit up and take notice.”

Ben Palto, doctoral student, drills a hole with an ice auger to place an ablation stake for monitoring melt on the Zillmer Glacier.
Ben Pelto, doctoral student, drills a hole with an ice auger to place an ablation stake for monitoring melt on the Zillmer Glacier.

For a number of years, Menounos has studied the effects of climate change on glaciers in the Cariboo Mountains. His research suggests that by the end of the century, Western Canada’s glaciers will shrink by 70 percent of 2005 levels. Every year, the Zillmer Glacier shrinks by 60 to 70 centimeters.

Kokanee beer will contribute further to this research with the funding. The exchange also allows the company to revive its beginnings.

“Because we were able to grab some of the remaining ice from Dr. Menounos, we were able to, in spirit, look at recreating one of the first-ever batches of Kokanee,” Candy Lee, Kokanee brand manager, told CBC news.