Roundup: CLIMATE CONFESSION, Turkey Avalanches, and Announcing The Earthshot Prize

A Planetary Scientist Admits He Was Wrong

Planetary scientist and glaciologist Jeff Kargel was thinking about climate change on Earth without enough consideration for irreversible changes––he wants you to know what he now understands. “My confession is that the signs and the models were in place by 2005, but I was still thinking in gradualistic terms. I was not thinking about abruptly changing behaviors of the gigantic currents of the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans. In 2005, I thought that climate change was gradual and readily manageable. I was wrong. I didn’t consider nonlinear effects— the tipping points— that climate change would have on individual components of the Earth system.”

Read the full admission by Jeff Kargel on GlacierHub here.

Imja Lake, Nepal, and its natural end moraine dam (Source: Jeff Kargel).

Province in Turkey Hit by Multiple Avalanches

Turkey’s Van Province suffered a series of devastating natural disasters the first week of February, with two avalanches occurring within 24 hours of each other. The avalanches were triggered in the same area near a highway outside of the town of Bahcesaray. The first avalanche struck on February 4 and the second followed on February 5. The Turkish Natural Disaster and Crisis Directorate announced the following day that the death toll had climbed to 41 with nearly 100 others injured.

Read the story by Zoë Klobus on GlacierHub here.

‘The Most Prestigious’ Environment Prize In History

In October 2019, GlacierHub reported on Prince William and Duchess Catherine’s visit to a remote Pakistani village, Bumburet, in the Hindu Kush to view the Chiatibo Glacier––the first time the couple had seen a melting glacier. Less than three months later, on the eve of the New Year 2020, the couple announced The Earthshot Prize, which is being called “the most prestigious environment prize in history.”

Read the story by Ecowatch here and see the short clip, narrated by David Attenborough, below.

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Photo Friday: Humble Energy Ad Boasts About Melting Glaciers in ’62

Video of the Week: Time-Lapse Video Shows Fluid Nature of the Cryosphere

Coronavirus is Expanding Into the Mountain Regions of Western China

Roundup: Coronavirus Spreads to Glacier Country, A New Antarctic Feedback Loop, and High Avalanche Danger in the Pacific Northwest

Coronavirus Spreading in Mountain Provinces in Western China

The coronavirus first appeared in Hubei province in eastern China. It remains concentrated there, but has spread. A recent World Health Organization map shows cases in Tibet, Qinghai and Xinjiang––mountainous provinces with many glaciers. In Xinjiang, 45 cases have been confirmed, 18 in Qinghai province, and last week the first case was reported in Tibet. Though indigenous populations are adapted to high altitude, the thin air in these regions may nonetheless present a risk for those who are exposed to the disease, which affects the human respiratory system.

Read the story by Grennan Milliken on GlacierHub here.

The WHO report from February 8 (Source: World Health Organization)

Tracing the Reach of An Interdisciplinary Antarctic Study

A study published in 2018 in the journal Science Advances, has had far-reaching influence in the fields of oceanology and glaciology. The findings are the first to provide evidence that there is currently an ongoing positive feedback loop between the Southern Ocean and the Antarctic Ice Sheet. The research has been cited more than 20 times across a variety of fields and received significant media attention. 

Read the story by Zoë Klobus on GlacierHub here.

Deploying autonomous profilers to measure ocean parameters (Source: David Porter)

High Avalanche Danger After Pacific Northwest Storms

Successive pipelines of moisture-laden Pacific storm systems, known as atmospheric rivers, have produced one of the wettest Januaries for western Washington state on record. The peaks of the Cascade Range, including Mount Baker, among other glaciated stratovolcanoes which spine that US state’s coastline, received more than 20 feet of snow in the first three weeks of the month. The torrent of moisture has continued into February, leading to a “high danger” of avalanches, according to warning issued by the National Weather Service last week. The Northwest Avalanche Center posts real time avalanche advisories, which have since been reduced to moderate threat across most of the affected region.

Read more from the Bellingham Herald here.

Record precipitation in western Washington State has primed avalanche conditions (Source: National Weather Service)

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Ancient Viruses Awaken as the Tibetan Plateau Melts

Photo Friday: Province in Turkey Hit by Multiple Avalanches

Crowded Backcountry Ski Slopes Increase Risk of Skiers Endangering Each Other

Video of the Week: First Footage From Beneath Thwaites Glacier

In this week’s Video of the Week take the first look beneath Thwaites Glacier, the Florida-size slipping cork of ice keeping the West Antarctic Ice Sheet intact. On Monday Earther published the video with the story “‘Goosebumps’: Researchers Capture First Video From Under Antarctica’s Most Endangered Glacier.”

Video republished with permission from Earther

Last month researchers used hot water to bore a hole to the bottom of the glacier, opening an access point for data collection and imagery. The effort is a product of MELT, one component of eight multi-disciplinary research proposals led by a team of American and British scientists from the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration Project (ITGC), to better understand how the warm water is melting the glacier at the grounding line.

The footage was taken using Icefin, “a small, under-ice, robotic oceanographer,” from the Georgia Institute of Technology––one of five universities involved with MELT. “Her [Schmidt’s] video is like seeing the surface of the moon for the first time,” American Geophysical Union president and glaciologist Robin Bell told Earther. “The video gives me goosebumps.”

Like the surface of the moon indeed. According to Earther’s video, “More people have walked in space than have been the remote, harsh environment of Thwaites.”

Icefin aims to characterize sub-ice environments using sonar, chemical, and biological sensors to explore ice and water conditions around and beneath ice shelves (Source: Georgia Institute of Technology).

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Photo Friday: Thwaites Glacier Bore Hole Drilled

Project Aims to Better Understand “Doomsday” Glacier

Glacial Geoengineering: The Key to Slowing Sea Level Rise?

Roundup: Himalaya Pollutants, Patagonia Food Web Study, and Snowfall Variability Dictates Glacier Mass Balance

Glacier Study Shows Toxic Metals Concentrating in High Central Himalaya

How and how much atmospheric pollutants settle in the high Himalaya is an understudied question. New research sited at Dokriani Glacier found toxic heavy metal contaminants from human activities are concentrating in the high central Himalaya. From the abstract:

“A total of 39 samples were collected from two snowpit stratigraphies, deposited during non-monsoon period and monsoonal precipitation between 4530 to 4630 m a.s.l. altitude in the year 2017. The results of analyzed trace metals (Al, Cr, Mn, Fe, Sr, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Cd, As, and Pb) showed high enrichment values for Zn, Cr, Co, Ni and Mn compared to other parts of the Himalayan region, suggesting the influence of anthropogenic emissions (e.g., fossil fuel, metal production, and industrial processes) from urbanized areas of South Asia. Our results also revealed the possible health effects related to the enrichment of Zn and Cd, which may be responsible for skin-related diseases in Uttarakhand region.”

Read the full study here.

Patagonia Food Web Study Compares Glacier, non-Glacier Basins

An intriguing and paradoxical result was recently drawn from comparing glacial and non-glacial basins in Patagonia. Glacier basins were found to have a lower diversity of marine organisms than non-glacier fjords, however, inhabitants of these glacial systems have higher species overlap in their diet. From the abstract:

“Food web studies have provided insight into the dynamics of benthic ecosystems and their stability, stimulating research into the importance of different organic matters inputs in the ecological and metabolic processes that affect community structure. Using stable isotope analysis and Bayesian ellipses, this study examines the influence of terrestrial organic matter and hydrographic conditions on food web structure and niche width in a glacial system (Baker/Martínez fjord complex).”

Read the full study here.

Fig. 1. Location of sampling stations in the Baker-Martínez fjord complex system in Chilean Patagonia. White dots by sampling stations for March 2014 and December 2015; black dots by sampling stations for October 2014 (Source: Cari et al).

Glacier Mass Balance in Himalaya-Karakoram Dictated by Snowfall Variability

The Himalaya-Karakoram (HK), part of the complex of ranges that includes the Pamir Mountains, the Hindu Kush and the Himalayan Mountains, is the most heavily glaciated non-polar region in the world. A new study found that mass balance of glaciers in the HK are highly sensitive to interannual snowfall variability. From the abstract:

“Glaciers in the Himalaya-Karakoram are critical for ensuring water-security of a large fraction of world’s population that is vulnerable to climate impacts. However, the sensitivity of HK glaciers to changes in meteorological forcing remains largely unknown. We analyzed modelled interannual variability of mass balance (MB) that is validated against available observations, to quantify the sensitivity of MB to meteorological factors over the HK.”

Read the full study here.

Biafo Glacier in the Karakoram Mountains in July 2007 (Source: WikiCommons).

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Ancient Mosses Add to the Story of the Iceman’s Final Days on Earth

The Right Time to Study the Timing of Glacier Melt and Human Resilience —A New Postdoc Opportunity

Photo Friday: Lewis Pugh’s East Antarctic Supraglacial Swim

Photo Friday: Lewis Pugh’s East Antarctic Supraglacial Swim

Lewis Pugh is a British-South African endurance swimmer and environmental diplomat. Pugh has regularly embarked on distance swims since 2006––including the North Pole, the English Channel, and a glacial lake on Mount Everest––to call attention to vulnerable ecosystems. His Wikipedia page describes him as the “Sir Edmund Hillary of swimming.”

Last week Pugh swam one kilometer of a supraglacial lake in East Antarctica near the Russian research station Novolazarevskaya. He did so while wearing his usual distance cold swim attire––a Speedo, swimcap, and goggles––in water that was just above 0°C (32°F). The swim took Pugh just over ten minutes to complete.

“The swim was the accumulation of 33 years of training in order to swim 10 minutes and 17 seconds down that river,” Pugh told the BBC. “I swam here today as we are in a climate emergency. We need immediate action from all nations to protect our planet.”

Pugh, a maritime lawyer by trade, became designated United Nations Patron of the Oceans in 2013. At the time it was just the second Patron for a specific cause recognized by the UN Enivronmental Programme. Pugh’s goal: to establish a Marine Protected Areas in the Southern Ocean––a highly sensitive and vital organ to Earth’s ocean and climate health.

The Pugh Foundation website cites a study by Professor Chris Stokes of Durham University, which found over 65,000 supraglacial lakes exist on the East Antarctic Ice Sheet alone, “indicating that surface melting is more widespread than previously thought and occurring much further inland and at much higher elevations than previously observed.”

“This will be the hardest swim of Lewis’s life,” his website reads. “Not only will there be freezing water, and a severe wind chill factor, but there is also the threat of the lake suddenly emptying out through a crack in the ice sheet.” A short video “A Swim In the Ice – #Antarctica2020” highlights Pugh’s mission and pioneering endeavor.

Roundup: “At Glacier’s End,” Arctic Seabirds Adapt, and Ice Stream Formation

At Glacier’s End: Protecting Glacial Rivers in Iceland

“Page after page of curving colorful rivers delight the eye in At Glacier’s End, a recently published book about Iceland’s glacial river systems. The images that lie behind its cover were created by Chris Burkard, a photographer and explorer, and the more than 8,000 words that tell their story were penned by Matt McDonald, a storyteller and traveller.”

“Our main goal with the book was to advocate for Iceland’s national parks and to try to create a voice for them from a visual perspective,” Burkard said in an interview with GlacierHub.  “In Iceland, it’s really surprising, many politicians who are the decision-makers haven’t had a chance to actually see [these places] because they are far away and really hard to access.”

Read the full story by GlacierHub writer Elza Bouhassira here.

Source: Chris Burkard

Seabirds Find New Ways to Forage in a Changing Arctic

“On Arctic landmasses, valley glaciers––formally known as tidewater glaciers––run all the way to the ocean, where cloudy plumes from their discharge create the perfect foraging habitat for seabirds. Researchers found some birds are reliant upon the turbid, subglacial freshwater discharge, which breaks apart icebergs and forms a column of freshwater foraging ground at the glacier’s edge, while others prefer to forage near the broken sea ice where water is less turbid…In 2019, Bungo Nishizawa and associates published a study in the ICES Journal of Marine Science that investigated the effects of subglacial meltwater on two assemblages of seabirds in northwestern Greenland.”

Read the full story by GlacierHub writer Audrey Ramming here.

Source: Françoise Amélineau

A First-ever Look at Ice Stream Formation

In this week’s Video of the Week, the world gets its first-ever look at ice stream formation. The video, which was published on the American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) YouTube channel on December 17, tracks the rapid movement of the Vavilov Ice Cap, in the high Russian Arctic, from summer 2015 to summer 2018. In the video the glacier’s speed is color-coded by meters per day of movement in what scientists believe is the first documented transition of a glacial surge to a longer-lasting flow known as an ice stream.

Read the full story by GlacierHub senior editor Peter Deneen here.

Video of the Week: A First-ever Look at Ice Stream Formation

In this week’s Video of the Week, the world gets its first-ever look at ice stream formation. The video, which was published on the American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) YouTube channel on December 17, tracks the rapid movement of the Vavilov Ice Cap, in the high Russian Arctic, from summer 2015 to summer 2018.

In the video the glacier’s speed is color-coded by meters per day of movement in what scientists believe is the first documented transition of a glacial surge to a longer-lasting flow known as an ice stream.

“Ice streams and glacial surges were believed to be separate phenomena driven by different mechanisms,” the AGU wrote in the caption. “But if the authors of the new study are correct, glacial surges could instead be an early stage of an ice stream.”

NASA documented the surge in an April 2019 story “A Surprising Surge at Vavilov Ice Cap.” Glaciologists took notice of the glacier’s abberant behavior in 2013, when it suddenly sprang forward, an unusual development for a cold-based glacier, which tend to move slowly. The finding startled glaciologists because if the Vavilov Ice Cap’s outlet glacier can suddenly transition from stable ice––to ice stream––then so can other ice caps, which would upend sea level rise predictions globally.

“The fact that an apparently stable, cold-based glacier suddenly went from moving 20 meters per year to 20 meters per day was extremely unusual, perhaps unprecedented,” University of Colorado Boulder glaciologist Michael Willis told NASA in April 2019. “The numbers here are simply nuts. Before this happened, as far as I knew, cold-based glaciers simply didn’t do that…couldn’t do that.”

Whyjay Zheng is a Ph.D. candidate at Cornell University and the lead author of the new study. “If you look at the satellite images, it seems like the entire west wing of the ice cap is just dumping into the sea,” Zheng said. “No one has ever seen this before.”

Read More on GlacierHub here:

At Glacier’s End: Protecting Glacial Rivers in Iceland

Photo Friday: Thwaites Glacier Bore Hole Drilled

New Insights into Bergfilm and Contemporary Environmentalism

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).

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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

Photo Friday: Thwaites Glacier Bore Hole Drilled

If there is a ‘doomsday glacier‘ Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica is it. The massive glacier is one of the fastest melting glaciers in the world and has the potential to destabilize the entire West Antarctic ice sheet––a scenario which would raise global sea levels an average of ten feet.

A team of scientists led by David Holland and Keith Nicholls––from the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration Project (ITGC)––are using hot water to drill holes through the glacier. On January 8 the first bore hole was drilled, opening a 590 meter access point directly to the bottom of the glacier.

The goal of the project––MELT––is to better understand how the warm water is melting the glacier at the grounding line. Ultimately, researchers hope the data gleaned will allow the glacier’s potential sea-level contribution to be more accurately predicted.

On Twitter, the handle @HotWaterOnIce is actively providing updates from Thwaites’ surface, providing an on-ice view of the depth and breadth of the research taking place.

Read More on GlacierHub:

New Insights into Bergfilm and Contemporary Environmentalism

Video of the Week: Mexico’s Popocatépetl Volcano Explodes

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

Roundup: Iceland Tourism Unconcerned by Warming, The World’s Water Towers, Alpinism Recognized by UNESCO

Glacier Tour Operators in Iceland Aren’t Worried About Climate Change

A study of small glacier tourism operators in Iceland published in the International Journal of Biometeorology found that small and medium-scale tour operators aren’t too worried about the threat of glacier retreat and climate change to their business. From the abstract:

“The interaction of operator’s attributes of agency such as firsthand experiences, risk perceptions, and abilities to self-organize, with structural elements of the glacier destination system such as economic rationales and hazard reduction institutions, has shaped and consolidated operators’ adaptation processes in the form of a wait-and-see strategy combined with ad hoc reactive adaptation measures and postponed or prevented proactive long-term adaptation strategies.”

Read the study here.

Vatnajökull National Park in southeast Iceland (Source: Creative Commons)

Importance and Vulnerability of the World’s Water Towers

A major overview of mountains and global water supply by Walter Immerzeel was published in Nature magazine on December 9. From the abstract:

“Mountains are the water towers of the world, supplying a substantial part of both natural and anthropogenic water demands. They are highly sensitive and prone to climate change, yet their importance and vulnerability have not been quantified at the global scale. Here we present a global water tower index, which ranks all water towers in terms of their water-supplying role and the downstream dependence of ecosystems and society.”

Read the study here.

The WTI, the population in WTUs and their downstream basins (Source: Immerzeel/Nature).

UNESCO Declares Alpinism An Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Alpinists Scott Schoettgen and Orion Peck summit Mount Shasta in California in April 2019 (Image: Aaron Barnhart).

UNESCO just declared alpinism, also known as Western-style mountain climbing––the art of climbing up summits and walls in high mountains––as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. From UNESCO on the sport:

“Alpinism is a traditional, physical practice characterized by a shared culture made up of knowledge of the high-mountain environment, the history of the practice and associated values, and specific skills. Knowledge about the natural environment, changing weather conditions, and natural hazards is also essential. Alpinism is also based on aesthetic aspects: alpinists strive for elegant climbing motions, contemplation of the landscape, and harmony with the natural environment. The practice mobilizes ethical principles based on each individual’s commitment, such as leaving no lasting traces behind, and assuming the duty to provide assistance among practitioners.”

Alpinism is recognized by the UNESCO as an art :

  • of climbing mountain summits and faces by one’s own physical, technical and intellectual strengths;
  • of challenging one’s own capabilities and expertise while negotiating natural, non-artificial obstacles;
  • of evaluating and assuming measured risks;
  • of self-managing, self-responsibility and solidarity; and
  • of respecting other people and natural sites.

Read the rest of the UNESCO entry here. Read more in the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation’s press release.

Read More on GlacierHub:

‘Most Ice on Earth is Very Close to Melting Conditions’

Video of the Week: Smoke and Ash Choke Tasman Glacier in New Zealand

Glaciers in the Olympic Mountains Could Vanish by End of This Century

Video of the Week: Smoke and Ash Choke Tasman Glacier in New Zealand

Australia is experiencing the worst fire season in modern times. Millions of hectares of forest and thousands of homes have burned and more than 20 people have perished. The environmental impacts are yet to be tabulated, but experts say one billion animals may have died on the continent, which already has the highest extinction rate in the world.

While no glaciers remain on Australia, the impacts of the fires on glaciers more than 1,000 miles away are already being felt. This week’s Video of the Week, showing the impact of Australia’s bushfires on New Zealand’s Tasman Glacier, is one of the most viral glacier videos ever. The footage was viewed 653,000 times on Twitter alone at the time of publication––just one week after it was shared.

Video Credit: Andy Hoare

Andy Hoare, who has been a guide on the Tasman Glacier for the past three years and who shot the footage on New Year’s Day 2020, said the group have never seen anything like it. “I didn’t expect the smoke to get as bad as it did,” Hoare told GlacierHub. “It felt quite depressing standing there, especially because you can already the massive retreat that our glaciers have already experienced. I think it felt quite symbolic of what’s happening to our environment around the world.”

The 21-second clip shows tourists milling about on the ice. Hoare’s mother, Twitter user @MissRoho, shared the video with the caption “This the view from the top of the Tasman Glacier NZ today––whole South island experiencing bushfire clouds. We can actually smell the burning here in Christchurch. Thinking of you guys.”

The long term impacts of the sooty fallout darkening the surface of New Zealand’s glaciers remains to be seen. But if the Amazon forest fires are any analog, New Zealand’s glaciers can be expected to melt significantly faster. Fires in the Amazon in 2010 caused a 4.5 percent increase in water runoff from Zongo Glacier in Bolivia alone.

Melt rate is critical because where there are glaciers there are people––and biodiversity––reliant upon the slow release of water from glacial reservoirs. Nearly two billion people depend on runoff from Himalayan glaciers in southeast Asia and some towns in Peru receive as much as 85 percent of their drinking water from glaciers during times of drought. Too much melt too fast without replenishment is bad for people, biodiversity, and glaciers.

Hoare did not expect the video to take off the way it did. “I’m glad the footage could at least in a small way make people aware of how the fires affected our glaciers and also maybe think about the connection between the fires, emissions, coal mining, and how it effects the planet.”

Read More on GlacierHub:

Photo Friday: Bushfires in Australia Continue to Devastate New Zealand Glaciers

Amazon Fires Quickening Glacier Melting in Andes

Last Remaining Glaciers in the Pacific Will Soon Melt Away

Roundup: The Glacier Compensation Effect, Amazon Fires Melt Andean Glaciers, and Australia’s Bushfires Accelerate Melt in New Zealand

Characterizing the Relation Between Interannual Streamflow Variability and Glacier Cover

A new study confirmed the theory that streamflow variability is dependent on relative glacier cover. From the abstract: “Meltwater from glaciers is not only a stable source of water but also affects downstream streamflow dynamics. One of these dynamics is the interannual variability of streamflow. Glaciers can moderate streamflow variability because the runoff in the glacierized part, driven by temperature, correlates negatively with the runoff in the non‐glacierized part of a catchment, driven by precipitation, thereby counterbalancing each other. This is also called the glacier compensation effect (GCE), and the effect is assumed to depend on relative glacier cover. Previous studies found a convex relationship between streamflow variability and glacier cover of different glacierized catchments, with lowest streamflow variability at a certain optimum glacier cover. In this study, we aim to revisit these previously found curves to find out if a universal relationship between interannual streamflow variability and glacier cover exists, which could potentially be used in a space‐for‐time substitution analysis.”

Read the study here.

Amazon Fires Quickening Glacier Melting in Andes

In a new paper published November 28, 2019, in the journal Scientific Reports, a team of researchers has outlined how smoke from fires in the Amazon in 2010 made glaciers in the Andes melt more quickly.

Read the story here.

The Zongo glacier is found on the slopes of Huayna Potosi, one of Bolivia’s highest mountains (Source: Ryan Michael Wilson/Shutterstock)

Soot From Australia Bushfires Settles on New Zealand Glaciers

On December 13, GlacierHub published “Bushfires in Australia Blanket New Zealand Glaciers in Soot.” Since then, the fires in Australia have continued to grow and their fallout is increasingly darkening the surface of glaciers in New Zealand. Media outlets including The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, and The Guardian, among others, are reporting on the tragedy indirectly befalling New Zealand’s glaciers.

Read the story here.

On January 1, 2020, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 acquired a natural-color image (above) of thick smoke blanketing southeastern Australia along the border of Victoria and New South Wales (Source: NASA).

Read More on GlacierHub:

Kerguelen Island Glacier Retreat Expands Lake District

Photo Friday: Glaciers Smile Down on Electric Ferries

Crowded Backcountry Ski Slopes Increase Risk of Skiers Endangering Each Other