Video of the Week: Glacier Atop Mont Blanc on Precipice of Collapse

Italian officials released last month images showing about 250 cubic meters of ice that were poised to break off of Planpincieux Glacier, which lies on the Italian side of Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps and the highest in Europe west of the Caucasus Mountains.

The glacier stretches 2.5 kilometers along Mont Blanc’s southern slope and covers an area a little over a square kilometer.

The images were released just as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned in its most resent report that the world’s oceans and cryosphere are already being radically altered by a warming world.

Carolina Adler, the executive director of the Mountain Research Initiative, is a lead author on the report.

“In this report we present key evidence on observed and projected trends in warming and how these trigger physical responses in the ocean and cryosphere,” Adler said. “These physical responses also lead to impacts on both people and ecosystems that are evident today, and are projected to increase into the future. However, despite these significant observed and projected changes, there is still an opportunity to reduce the risk of large impacts and ensure adaptation is more effective through emissions reduction. In essence, we highlight the benefits of ambitious and effective adaptation.”

Further illustrating the decline of ice mass on Mont Blanc, the University of Dundee released last week a comparison of aerial images of the peak taken a century apart. Swiss pilot and photographer Walter Mittelholzer flew over the same landscape in a biplane in 1919.

University of Dundee’s Kieran Baxter described flying over Mont Blanc to capture the comparison photo.

(Source: ETH-Bibliothek Zürich/Kieran Baxter, University of Dundee)

“The scale of the ice loss was immediately evident as we reached altitude, but it was only by comparing the images side-by-side that the last 100 years of change were made visible,” he said. “It was both a breathtaking and heartbreaking experience, particularly knowing that the melt has accelerated massively in the last few decades.”

More on GlacierHub:

A Two-Century-Long Advance Reversed by Climate Change

Roundup: Tropical Glaciers, Experimental Cryoconite, and Grand Teton National Park

Making Connections at the 2019 International Mountain Conference

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Roundup: Tropical Glaciers, Experimental Cryoconite, and Grand Teton National Park

Changes in tropical glaciers in Peru between 2000 and 2016

From The Cryosphere:

“Glaciers in tropical regions are very sensitive to climatic variations and thus strongly affected by climate change. The majority of the tropical glaciers worldwide are located in the Peruvian Andes, which have shown significant ice loss in the last century. Here, we present the first multi-temporal, region-wide survey of geodetic mass balances and glacier area fluctuations throughout Peru covering the period 2000–2016.”

Read the article here.

Llaca Glacier, located in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca (Source: Wikimedia Commons/Edubucher)

Studying cryoconite

From Polar Biology:

“Cryoconite holes are surface melt-holes in ice containing sediments and typically organisms. In Antarctica, they form an attractive system of isolated mesocosms in which to study microbial community dynamics in aquatic ecosystems. Although microbial assemblages within the cryoconite holes most closely resemble those from local streams, they develop their own distinctive composition.”

Read the article here.

Measuring cryoconites on Longyearbreen Glacier during field work of Arctic microbiology, Svalbard (Source: Wikimedia Commons/Kertu Liis Krigul)

Mass loss in Grand Teton National Park

From The Seattle Times:

“Officials are studying the glaciers in Grand Teton National Park in northwestern Wyoming to see how climate change is affecting their movement and melting.

Scientists are using GPS readings from the surface of the glaciers, time-lapse photos and stakes to examine some of the park’s 11 glaciers, the Post Register reported Saturday.

They are trying to see whether the glaciers are still moving slowly or have stopped completely.”

Read the article here.

A view of the Grand Teton Range (Source: Wikimedia Commons/Daniel Mayer)

Read more on GlacierHub:

Making Connections at the 2019 International Mountain Conference

Video of the Week: Melania Trump Pays a Visit to Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park

‘From Thinking to Doing’: Olafur Eliasson on Art and Action

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Video of the Week: Melania Trump Pays a Visit to Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park

First Lady Melania Trump posted on Twitter footage of a recent trip she took to Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park.

The minute-long video, one of several about the Oct. 4 trip posted by Trump, shows her interacting with dozens of children and National Park Service employees. The glacier-topped peaks of the Teton Range are a near constant backdrop.

Meanwhile, the park’s glaciers are an object of newly launched scientific inquiry.

“Officials are studying the glaciers in Grand Teton National Park in northwestern Wyoming to see how climate change is affecting their movement and melting,” according to the Associated Press.

And there’s good reason for doing so.

The scientists are trying to figure out if the glaciers are moving down mountain slops more slowly or have halted altogether, which could shed light on whether or not their mass is decreasing.

Recent observations of one of the park’s 11 glaciers show that its surface diminished by 24 feet. “That’s pretty crazy,” said Reba McCracken, a park glaciologist who made the measurement.

But the park is not well studied.

“We’ve got a lot to learn,” McCracken said. “The dynamics of this glacier are hard to know.”

But what is well established is that glaciers around the world are melting—fast.

The latest report from the IPCC says that between 2006 and 2015 glaciers lost, on averaged, approximately half a meter per year. And, under high emissions scenarios, smaller glaciers in Europe, eastern Africa, the tropical Andes, and Indonesia could lose more than 80 percent of their mass by 2100. Some glaciers could disappear completely.

Read more on GlacierHub:

‘From Thinking to Doing’: Olafur Eliasson on Art and Action

Roundup: Ice911, Glacier Tourism in New Zealand, and Ice Stupas

Pakistan Could Be Left High and Dry Even If Nations Achieve Paris Climate Targets

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Roundup: Ice911, Glacier Tourism in New Zealand, and Ice Stupas

A novel approach to fighting climate change

From the Daily Mail:

“A newly devised type of silica bead could help save melting glaciers from the onslaught of climate change, scientists say.

The innovative new approach, developed by a company called Ice911, employs minuscule beads of ‘glass’ which are spread across the surface layer of glaciers.

There they help to reflect light beating down on them and slow what has become a tremendous pace of melt throughout the last several years.

‘I just asked myself a very simple question: Is there a safe material that could help replace that lost reflectivity?’ Found of Ice911, Leslie Field, told Mother Jones.”

Read more here.

Ice911’s silica beads could increase the albedo of glacier surfaces, helping to stave off melting. (Source: Ice911)

Investigating the impact of glacier melt on tourism

From the Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism:

“Aoraki Mount Cook National Park in the New Zealand Southern Alps attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. However, this iconic alpine destination is changing due to rapid glacial recession. To explore the implications of environmental change on visitor experience, this study adopted a mixed-methods approach, combining geophysical measurement with visitor surveys (n = 400) and semi-structured interviews with key informants (n = 12) to explore the implications of environmental change on visitor experience. We found the key drawcard to the park is Aoraki the mountain, with the glaciers playing a secondary role. Visitors had a strong awareness of climate change, but somewhat ironically, one of the key adaptive strategies to maintaining mountain access has been an increase in the use of aircraft. Opportunities exist for a strengthening of geo-interpretation in the park that not only educates but also encourages people towards more sustainable life choices.”

Read the study here.

Blue Lake in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park in the South Island, New Zealand (Source: Krzysztof Golik/Wikimedia Commons)

The politics of place

From the journal Water Alternatives:

“Jeff Malpasʼ concept of place as a bounded, open, and emergent structure is used in this article to understand the reasons for the differences in villagersʼ responses to ‘artificial glaciers’, or ‘Ice stupas’, built in two different places in the Himalayan village of Phyang, in Ladakh. Using archival material, geographic information system tools and ethnographic research, this study reveals how Phyang as a village is constituted by interacting ecological-technical, socio-symbolic, and bureaucratic-legal boundaries. It is observed that technologies such as land revenue records, and cadastral maps, introduced in previous processes of imperialist state formation, continue to inform water politics in this Himalayan region. It is further demonstrated how this politics is framed within the village of Phyang, but also shifts its boundaries to create the physical, discursive, and symbolic space necessary for projects like the Ice stupa to emerge. By examining the conflict through the lens of place, it is possible to identify the competing discursive frames employed by different stakeholders to legitimise their own projects for developing the arid area (or Thang) where the contested Ice stupa is located. Such an analysis allows critical water scholarship to understand both how places allow hydrosocial relationships to emerge, and how competing representations of place portray these relationships. Understanding the role of place in the constitution of hydrosocial relationships allows for a more nuanced appraisal of the challenges and opportunities inherent in negotiating development interventions aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change. It is also recommended that scholars studying primarily the institutional dimensions of community-managed resource regimes consider the impact on these institutions of technological artefacts such as the high density polyethylene (HDPE) pipes used to construct the Ice stupas.”

Read the study here.

Ice stupas near Phyang monastery in Ladakh (Source: Sumita Roy Dutta/Wikimedia Commons)

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Photo Friday: Inside the Final Negotiations of the IPCC’s Special Report on the Oceans and Cryosphere

Pakistan Could Be Left High and Dry Even If Nations Achieve Paris Climate Targets

Antarctic Fungi Provides a Window into the Past and Future

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Photo Friday: Inside the Final Negotiations of the IPCC’s Special Report on the Oceans and Cryosphere

IPCC authors and national delegates put the final touches on the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate during negotiations in Monaco ahead of the release of the report on Sept. 25.

GlacierHub’s Ben Orlove is a lead author on the report and provided images from the final hours of negotiations and from climate events ahead of the UN’s 2019 General Assembly.

IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee (left) and Prince Albert II of Monaco entering the opening reception for SROCC (source: IISD/ENB)
Lead authors on SROCC during a break (Source: B. Orlove)
(Source: IISD/ENB)
CLA Jean-Pierre Gattuso and LA Ben Orlove (Source: Facebook/Ben Orlove)
Lead author Ben Orlove, napping on a couch during a late-night meeting (Source: Facebook/Ben Orlove)
Lunches and dinners at the SROCC approval session often consisted of snacks. (Source: B. Orlove)
IPCC bureau staff and SROCC lead authors just after the Summary for Policy-Makers of SROCC was approved. (Source: IISD/ENB)
An outreach event for SROCC, held in New York on 25 September, hosted by the Permanent Mission of Belgium to the United Nations. (Source: B. Orlove)
Greta Thunberg, addressing an outreach event for SROCC in New York on 25 Sept. (Source: B. Orlove)
At an outreach event for SROCC in New York on Sept. 25. Left to right: Ben Orlove; Patricia Edwin, First Lady of the Federated States of Micronesia; Thelma Krug, IPCC Vice-Chair; David Panuelo, President of the Federated States of Micronesia (Source: B. Orlove)

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Pakistan Could Be Left High and Dry Even If Nations Achieve Paris Climate Targets

Antarctic Fungi Provides a Window into the Past and Future

Photo Friday: A Funeral Procession for Switzerland’s Pizol Glacier

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Video of the Week: The IPCC’s Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released on Sept. 25 its Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, or SROCC.

The study examines the already apparent effects that human-generated greenhouse gas emissions have had on the oceans and frozen areas of the world and offers projections on what is likely to occur in the coming decades.

“The open sea, the Arctic, the Antarctic and the high mountains may seem far away to many people,” Hoesung Lee, chair of the IPCC, said in a press release. “But we depend on them and are influenced by them directly and indirectly in many ways — for weather and climate, for food and water, for energy, trade, transport, recreation and tourism, for health and wellbeing, for culture and identity.”

The melting of glaciers, the report says, is causing people in high mountain regions to become increasingly exposed to hazards like avalanches, landslides, and flooding and more susceptible to changes in water availability.

Small glaciers in Europe, eastern Africa, the Andes, and Indonesia could diminish by 80 percent by the end of the century if nations fail to dramatically reduce their emissions, the report says. Tourism, recreational activities, and cultural life will continue to be impacted by glacier mass loss, and hydroelectric and agricultural production are being altered.

“Changes in water availability will not just affect people in these high mountain regions, but also communities much further downstream,” Panmao Zhai, an IPCC co-chair and general secretary of the Chinese Meteorological Society, said in a press release.

“Limiting warming would help them adapt to changes in water supplies in mountain regions and beyond, and limit risks related to mountain hazards,” he said. “Integrated water management and transboundary cooperation provides opportunities to address impacts of these changes in water resources.”

SROCC is the latest special report authored by the IPCC, which conducts a comprehensive assessment of the Earth’s climate about every five to seven years. It released in Oct. 2018 a special report on the impacts of 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming compared to pre-Industrial Age levels. Its sixth assessment report is expected to be published in June 2022.

Read more about the report in this post, republished with permission from the Mountain Research Initiative.

Read More on GlacierHub:

Antarctic Fungi Provides a Window into the Past and Future

Photo Friday: A Funeral Procession for Switzerland’s Pizol Glacier

A First-of-Its-Kind Model of Bolivian GLOFs Projects Significant Risks

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Roundup: Accelerating Sea Level Rise, France’s Mer de Glace, and Andean Glacier Change

World Meteorological Organization says sea level rise accelerating, fed by land ice melting

From the World Meteorological Organization: “The amount of ice lost annually from the Antarctic ice sheet increased at least six-fold, from 40 Gt per year in 1979-1990 to 252 Gt per year in 2009-2017.

The Greenland ice sheet has witnessed a considerable acceleration in ice loss since the turn of the millennium.

For 2015-2018, the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) reference glaciers indicates an average specific mass change of −908 mm water equivalent per year, higher than in all other five-year periods since 1950.”

Read the WMO report here and BBC’s coverage here.

The World Meteorological Organization is the United Nations System’s authoritative voice on weather, climate, and water. (Source: WMO)

The “dramatically changing landscape” of Mer de Glace

From New Scientist: “About a century ago, women with boaters and parasols sat near the Montenvers train station above the glacier, which then was almost level with a tongue of jagged ice snaking into the distance. Today, visitors are greeted by a slightly sad and largely grey glacier that is about 100 metres lower.”

Read more here.

A view of Mer de Glace in France (Source: chisloup/Wikimedia Commons)

An interdisciplinary analysis of changes in the high Andes

From Regional Environmental Change: “The high tropical Andes are rapidly changing due to climate change, leading to strong biotic community, ecosystem, and landscape transformations. While a wealth of glacier, water resource, and ecosystem-related research exists, an integrated perspective on the drivers and processes of glacier, landscape, and biota dynamics is currently missing. Here, we address this gap by presenting an interdisciplinary review that analyzes past, current, and potential future evidence on climate and glacier driven changes in landscape, ecosystem and biota at different spatial scales.

[… ]

Our analysis indicates major twenty-first century landscape transformations with important socioecological implications which can be grouped into (i) formation of new lakes and drying of existing lakes as glaciers recede, (ii) alteration of hydrological dynamics in glacier-fed streams and high Andean wetlands, resulting in community composition changes, (iii) upward shifts of species and formation of new communities in deglaciated forefronts,(iv) potential loss of wetland ecosystems, and (v) eventual loss of alpine biota.”

Read the study here.

Tyndall Glacier, located in the Torres del Paine National Park in Chile, is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 16 crew member on the International Space Station. (Source: NASA)

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Photo Friday: Countdown to the Release of the IPCC’s Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere

New Research Reveals How Megafloods Shaped Greenland And Iceland

Observing Flora Near a Famous Norwegian Glacier

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Photo Friday: Countdown to the Release of the IPCC’s Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will release next week its Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate. Over 100 scientists from more than 30 nations have contributed to the report, which will outline the current and projected impacts of climate change on the world’s oceans, ice sheets, and mountain snowpack.

Ahead of its release on Sept. 25, IPCC staff and authors are meeting with government delegates in Monaco to discuss and approve the final text.

GlacierHub’s Ben Orlove is an author on the report and sent some images from the Monaco deliberations.

Preparatory sessions were held Tuesday and Wednesday ahead of approval meetings taking place Friday through Monday. A welcome reception occurred Thursday night and was attended by Monaco’s Prince Albert II.

Check out the images below and keep an eye out next week for GlacierHub’s coverage of the report.

IPCC authors take a break during the preparatory meeting.
Delegates and IPCC authors attend a reception on Thursday, September 19 at the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco.
Prince Albert II of Monaco and IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee at the September 19 welcome reception.
Monaco’s Minister of Public Works, the Environment, and Urban Development Marie-Pierre Gramaglia addresses delegates and IPCC authors at a welcoming ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 19.
The Principality of Monaco took steps to make the meeting sustainable, providing, for example, reusable water bottles—with carbonation.
The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation presented fellowships to IPCC members, including Hoesung Lee, chair of the IPCC. Prince Albert II is seen with his back to the camera.
IPCC authors, including GlacierHub’s Ben Orlove (right), wearing ribbons in support of climate strikers around the world who took to the streets on Friday, September 20. (Credit: Judith Dresher)
IPCC authors wore ribbons in solidarity with climate strikers who took to the streets of cities around the world on Friday, September 20. 
IPCC delegates arrive at the Grimaldi Forum, located in Monaco’s seafront ward of Larvotto.
The reception area of the Grimaldi Forum, where IPCC delegates will discuss and approve the Special Report on the Oceans and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate
Delegates and IPCC staff and authors line up to obtain their credentials inside the Grimaldi Forum.
Attendees queue for coffee inside the Grimaldi Forum.
Delegates and IPCC authors begin to arrive for Friday’s plenary session.
Monaco’s Prince Albert II addresses the IPCC plenary on Friday, Sept. 20.

(All photos were taken by Ben Orlove, unless credited otherwise.)

Read more on GlacierHub:

New Research Reveals How Megafloods Shaped Greenland And Iceland

Observing Flora Near a Famous Norwegian Glacier

Annual Assessment of North Cascades Glaciers Finds ‘Shocking Loss’ of Volume

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Roundup: Switzerland’s Aletsch Glacier, Olafur Eliasson, and Early Alpine Dwellers

Dire projections for Switzerland’s Great Aletsch Glacier

From the Journal of Glaciology:

“We model the future evolution of the largest glacier of the European Alps – Great Aletsch Glacier, Switzerland – during the 21st century. For that purpose we use a detailed three-dimensional model, which combines full Stokes ice dynamics and surface mass balance forced with the most recent climate projections (CH2018), as well as with climate data of the last decades. As a result, all CH2018 climate scenarios yield a major glacier retreat: Results range from a loss of 60% of today’s ice volume by 2100 for a moderate CO2 emission scenario (RCP2.6) being in line with the Paris agreement to an almost complete wastage of the ice for the most extreme emission scenario (RCP8.5). Our model results also provide evidence that half of the mass loss is already committed under the climate conditions of the last decade.”

Read more here.

View of the Great Aletsch Glacier from Moosfluh, above Bettmeralp (Source: Matthias Huss / ETH Zürich)

Olafur Eliasson event at Columbia University

From Columbia University:

“Renowned Danish-Icelandic visual artist Olafur Eliasson’s large-scale works such as Ice Watch and New York City Waterfalls spark critical dialogue about climate change and our relationship to nature. His work is driven by interests in perception, movement, embodied experience, and feelings of self, engaging the broader public sphere through architectural projects, interventions in civic space, arts education, policy-making, and issues of sustainability.”

Eliasson will speak at Columbia University on September 26, 2019, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM as part of its Year of Water program. Details about the Eliasson event can be found here.

Early, high-elevation humans lived near glaciers

From Science:

“Studies of early human settlement in alpine environments provide insights into human physiological, genetic, and cultural adaptation potentials. Although Late and even Middle Pleistocene human presence has been recently documented on the Tibetan Plateau, little is known regarding the nature and context of early persistent human settlement in high elevations. Here, we report the earliest evidence of a prehistoric high-altitude residential site. Located in Africa’s largest alpine ecosystem, the repeated occupation of Fincha Habera rock shelter is dated to 47 to 31 thousand years ago. The available resources in cold and glaciated environments included the exploitation of an endemic rodent as a key food source, and this played a pivotal role in facilitating the occupation of this site by Late Pleistocene hunter-gatherers.”

Read more here.

Researchers examine a glacier erratic from an ancient, retreating glacier in Ethiopia. (Source: H. Viet)

Read more on GlacierHub:

Photo Friday: Images From Huascaran Research Expedition

Observing Flora Near a Famous Norwegian Glacier

Annual Assessment of North Cascades Glaciers Finds ‘Shocking Loss’ of Volume

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Photo Friday: Images From Huascaran Research Expedition

Huascaran National Park covers 1,375 square kilometers of the Cordillera Blanca in the Ancash region of north-central Peru. The Cordillera Blanca hosts hundreds of glaciers and glacial lakes.

An international team of scientists taking ice cores from glaciers on Huascaran, Peru’s tallest peak, was forced to halt their research and evacuate the mountain in early August. Residents of the nearby Musho village suspected the scientists were damaging the mountain and mining illegally.

After leaving the mountain, the scientists negotiated with locals and government officials for a solution that would enable them to retrieve their ice cores. After a few tense days, the government provided a helicopter to transport the ice cores and drilling equipment.

The episode hightlights the sometimes tense relations between researchers working in the field and local populations.

Check out GlacierHub’s report on the Huascaran dispute and take a look at images from the excursion provided to GlacierHub by Ivan Lavrentiev, a member of the research team.

View of Huascaran from the Corillera Negra (Source: Ivan Lavrentiev)
On the way to the Col of Huascaran (Source: Ivan Lavrentiev)
Ascending Huascaran (Source: Ivan Lavrentiev)
Researchers climb the slopes of Huascaran, where they will drill ice cores (Source: Ivan Lavrentiev)
Researchers drill ice cores on the summit of Huascaran (Source: Ivan Lavrentiev)
Ice core samples taken from the summit of Huascaran will help researchers better understand the climate of the past. (Source: Ivan Lavrentiev)
Researchers collect the last ice core from the summit of Huascaran. (Source: Ivan Lavrentiev)
Researchers examine the final ice core taken from the summit of Huascaran. (Source: Ivan Lavrentiev)
After successfully drilling on the summit of Huascaran, researchers pose with their equipment at an elevation of 6,768 meters. (Source: Ivan Lavrentiev)
After evacuation from Huascaran, researchers pose with the Peruvian crew that transported them from the summit. (Source: Ivan Lavrentiev)

Read more on GlacierHub:

Observing Flora Near a Famous Norwegian Glacier

Annual Assessment of North Cascades Glaciers Finds ‘Shocking Loss’ of Volume

Warming Rivers Are Causing Die-Offs Among Alaska Salmon

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Roundup: Alpine Hydropower, Water Availability in Pakistan, and Measuring Black Carbon

A case study of the impact of climate change on alpine hydropower

From the journal Water: “Greenhouse gas reduction policies will have to rely as much as possible upon renewable, clean energy sources. Hydropower is a very good candidate, since it is the only renewable energy source whose production can be adapted to demand, and still has a large exploitation margin, especially in developing countries. However, in Europe the contribution of hydropower from the cold water in the mountain areas is at stake under rapid cryospheric down wasting under global warming. Italian Alps are no exception, with a large share of hydropower depending upon cryospheric water. We study here climate change impact on the iconic Sabbione (Hosandorn) glacier, in the Piemonte region of Italy, and the homonymous reservoir, which collects water from ice melt.”

Read more here.

A view of the glacier-fed Lake Sabbione in Italy. (Source: Flickr)

Water availability in Pakistan under Paris Agreement targets

From the journal Advances in Water Resources: “Highly seasonal water supplies from the Himalayan watersheds of Jhelum, Kabul and upper Indus basin (UIB) are critical for managing the world’s largest contiguous irrigation system of the Indus basin and its dependent agrarian economy of Pakistan. Here, we assess changes in the contrasting hydrological regimes of these Himalayan watersheds, and subsequent water availability under the Paris Agreement 2015 targets that aim of limiting the mean global warming to 1.5 °C (Plus1.5), and further, well below 2.0 °C (Plus2.0) relative to pre-industrial level.”

Read more here.

A view of the Indus River Valley (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Measuring ambient black carbon near India’s Gangotri Glacier

From the journal Atmospheric Environment: “The warming effect of equivalent Black Carbon (EBC) aerosols due to their light absorbing nature is a serious environmental concern, particularly, in the eco-sensitive and glaciated Himalayan region. Moreover, baseline data on BC is rarely available from most of the glaciated Himalayan region. For the first time, measurements on ambient EBC mass concentration were made at a high altitude site Chirbasa (3600 m, amsl), near Gangotri Glacier in the Indian Himalaya, during the year 2016. The change in the EBC concentration over the year was recorded from 0.01 μg m−3 to 4.62 μg m−3 with a diurnal variability of 0.10 μg m−3 to 1.8 μg m−3. The monthly mean concentration of EBC was found to be minimum (0.089 ± 0.052 μg m−3) in August and maximum (0.840 ± 0.743 μg m−3) in the month of May. The observed seasonal mean concentrations of EBC are less than 0.566 μg m−3 whereas the annual mean is 0.395 ± 0.408  μgm−3 indicating a pristine glacial and absence of locality EBC sources. Further, investigation on the occasional high values extricated that the seasonal cycle of EBC was significantly influenced by the emissions resulting from agriculture burning (in western part of the country), forest fires (along the Himalayan slopes) in summer, and to some extent the contribution from long range transport of pollutants in winter, depending the prevailing meteorological condition.

Read more here.

The terminus of Gangotri Glacier, Uttarakhand, India (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

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Warming Rivers Are Causing Die-Offs Among Alaska Salmon

The People of the Glacier Lands Taken to Create US National Parks

How Simmering Suspicions Over Mining Threatened Glacier Science In the Andes

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Roundup: Pre-Columbian Land Use, Trump in Tongass, and Greenland’s Ice Sheet

The Inca’s sustainable land use practices

From Quaternary Science Reviews:

“The extent of pre-Columbian land use and its legacy on modern ecosystems, plant associations, and species distributions of the Americas is still hotly debated. To address this gap, we present a Holocene palynological record (pollen, spores, microscopic charcoal, SCP analyses) from Illimani glacier with exceptional temporal resolution and chronological control close to the center of Inca activities around Lake Titicaca in Bolivia. Our results suggest that Holocene fire activity was largely climate-driven and pre-Columbian agropastoral and agroforestry practices had moderate (large-scale) impacts on plant communities. Unprecedented human-shaped vegetation emerged after AD 1740 following the establishment of novel colonial land use practices and was reinforced in the modern era after AD 1950 with intensified coal consumption and industrial plantations of Pinus and Eucalyptus. Although agroforestry practices date back to the Incas, the recent vast afforestation with exotic monocultures together with rapid climate warming and associated fire regime changes may provoke unprecedented and possibly irreversible ecological and environmental alterations.”

Read the article here.

Lake Titicaca (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Trump proposes logging nearby Alaskan glaciers

From the Washington Post:

“Politicians have tussled for years over the fate of the Tongass, a massive stretch of southeastern Alaska replete with old-growth spruce, hemlock and cedar, rivers running with salmon, and dramatic fjords. President Bill Clinton put more than half of it off limits to logging just days before leaving office in 2001, when he barred the construction of roads in 58.5 million acres of undeveloped national forest across the country. President George W. Bush sought to reverse that policy, holding a handful of timber sales in the Tongass before a federal judge reinstated the Clinton rule.

Read the article here.

A view of Mendenhall Glacier, which lies in Tongass National Forest (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Greenland ice sheet mass balance

From GEUS Bulletin:

“The Programme for Monitoring of the Greenland Ice Sheet (PROMICE) has measured ice-sheet elevation and thickness via repeat airborne surveys circumscribing the ice sheet at an average elevation of 1708 ± 5 m (Sørensen et al. 2018). We refer to this 5415 km survey as the ‘PROMICE perimeter’ (Fig. 1). Here, we assess ice-sheet mass balance following the input-output approach of Andersen et al. (2015). We estimate ice-sheet output, or the ice discharge across the ice-sheet grounding line, by applying downstream corrections to the ice flux across the PROMICE perimeter.”

Read the article here.

A helicopter takes off from the Greenland Ice Sheet. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Read More on GlacierHub:

What the 2018 State of the Climate Report Says About Alpine Glaciers

The Funeral for Iceland’s OK Glacier Attracts International Attention

Park Officials Remove Signs Warning That Some Glaciers Will Disappear by 2020

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