“The persistence of an already rare aquatic insect, the western glacier stonefly, is being imperiled by the loss of glaciers and increased stream temperatures due to climate warming in mountain ecosystems, according to a new study released in Freshwater Science. In the study, scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey, Bucknell University, and the University of Montana illustrate the shrinking habitat of the western glacier stonefly (Zapada glacier) associated with glacial recession using data spanning from 1960 – 2012. ”
Conference “Arctic, Subarctic: Mosaic, Contrast, Variability of the Cryosphere”
“The international conference ‘Arctic, Subarctic: Mosaic, Contrast, Variability of the Cryosphere’ will be held on 2-5 July 2015 in Tyumen, Russia. The conference is organized by Tyumen State Oil and Gas University and Tyumen Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences. ”
“Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, otherwise known as The Mountain, has become the face of men’s fragrance Vatnajökull. Björnsson, who rose to fame in the Game of Thrones series, showed his model side in a series of shots taken on Vatnajökull glacier. ”
Glaciers play at least three different roles at COP20, the global climate conference taking place in Lima, Peru. The COP20 is the largest meeting this year of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), an international environmental treaty aimed at stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. The 192 member countries of the UNFCCC meet annually in Conferences of the Parties (COP) to assess progress in dealing with climate change. COP20 is a lead-up to 2015 COP21 in France, whose objective is the signing of a legally binding agreement that would guarantee significant reductions in greenhouse gasses.
Most simply, glaciers are cited in newspaper articles, NGO statements, briefings by research institutes and reports by intergovernmental organizations as incontrovertible proof that climate change is producing dramatic impacts on ecosystems and societies around the world. They are featured in displays that seek to convey the urgency of addressing climate change, particularly in the Mountains and Water Pavilion within “Voces por el Clima,” (Voices Speaking for Climate) an exhibition that calls for greater attention to climate change.
Glaciers also play a critical role in specific countries with major roles at COP20. Host country Peru contains about 70% of the world’s tropical glaciers. The glaciers are crucial to Peru, because they supply drinking water and water for agriculture, hydroelectricity and industry, such as agro-exports and mining.
Glaciers are also important in China and the United States, the countries whose agreement on climate change, announced on November 11, provided significant impetus to COP20. These countries are the world’s No.1 and No.2 carbon polluters. Presidents Xi and Obama staked out ambitious plans to reduce carbon emissions as a way to galvanize other countries to make their own cuts. Mr. Obama announced that the United States plans to emit 26 percent to 28 percent less carbon in 2025 than it did in 2005. That is double the pace of reduction it targeted for the period from 2005 to 2020. At the same time, Mr. Xi announced vowed that clean energy sources like solar power and wind mills would account for 20 percent of China’s total energy production by 2030.
Both China and the United States have numerous glaciers. China’s glaciers, concentrated in the western and northern parts of the country, cover nearly 60,000 square kilometers. In the United States, glaciers, primarily located in Alaska, cover over 75,000 square kilometers). They are rapidly shrinking in both countries, and also in France, the host of COP21 next year, where Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Europe, has seen significant glacier loss in recent decades.
Finally, glaciers are specifically featured in two events at COP20, both on December 11th. A presentation by a Pakistani organization, the Moutain and Glacier Protection Organization (MGPO), and its partners, “Integrated Climate Risk Management for a Resilient World reports on adaptation projects near Baltoro Glacier in Pakistan. The event also includes lectures by the Ministers of Environment of the Netherlands and Tuvalu, concentrating on climate change and disasters in mountains, and their impacts on highland, lowland and coastal areas.
The other event is “Climate Change in the Andes and Global Cryosphere,” organized by two NGOs, ICCI (International Cryosphere Climate Initiative) and CPC (Climate Policy Center). They focus on the irreversibility of changes in glaciers and other ice- and snow-covered regions. Their discussions will center on tracing the implications of these changes for science-based commitment levels in the Paris 2015 COP.
Taken as a whole, these different documents and activities show the power of glaciers to demonstrate the significance of climate change and to stir people to action. GlacierHub is tracking COP20 closely. You can find photos from the conference here. If you are interested in keeping up with events at COP20, follow us on twitter @Glacierhub.
“Scientists are trekking across Ruth Glacier in Denali National Park in Alaska, dragging a sled with ground-penetrating radar equipment over the ice. Their mission: reconstruct this glacier’s history and find out how much time these icy giants have left. “So what we’re interested in doing is looking at the relationship between temperature and precipitation rate and the response of glaciers in these areas to those changes,” says Karl Kreutz, a paleoclimatologist at the University of Maine.”
Impact of glacier retreat on biota of Alpine lakes
“The rapid current retreat of glaciers constitutes one of the most prominent signs of climate change. Glacier retreat enlarges existing lakes and at the same time is creating new ones at the glacier terminus. A remarkable characteristic of glacier-fed lakes is their high content of suspended minerogenic particles, so-called ‘glacial flour’. The overarching objective of this proposal is to understand the consequences of glacier retreat for the structure and function of the biota of alpine lakes and to understand the governing ecological conditions in glacier-fed lakes, particularly of those recently created.”
“On Nov. 5, the IceBridge team carried out a survey of the Ferrigno and Alison ice streams and the Abbot Ice Shelf and ice along the Eights Coast. Weather forecasts showed clear conditions in West Antarctica, which typically only last for a few days. Less certain was how cloud cover would look in the Bellingshausen Sea, home of one of the mission’s highest priority flights. That uncertainty is what led mission planners to the decision they made.”
Photographer Josh Martinez took wedding pictures for a brave and adventurous couple with glaciers and pools of icy blue water in the background. For the shoot, they took a helicopter to Alaska’s Knik Glaciers, which is one of the largest in Southcentral Alaska. The wedding photos with ice, silt and glaciers give the photos dreamy and surreal look.
Photo Friday highlights photo essays and collections from areas with glaciers. If you have photos you’d like to share, let us know in the comments, by Twitter @glacierhub or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.