On Russian Glaciers, Algae Imitate Goldilocks

26 May 2016, by

Glaciers might seem like places that are hostile to life, but it turns out that microorganisms like algae and photosynthesizing bacteria (known as cyanobacteria) can flourish on them. A team of researchers recently investigated these life forms on four glaciers in the Suntar-Khayata Mountains in eastern Siberia, a range that’s home to nearly 200 glaciers. […]

Using Seismic Waves to Measure Ice Melt? Sounds Good

25 May 2016, by

A recent study in the journal Science Advances proposes a novel methodology to track melting ice sheets and the glaciers associated with them: rather than viewing the ice from above with airplanes and satellites, a team from MIT and Princeton is monitoring it from below. The new technique makes it possible to gather information about […]

Satellites Detect Both Steady and Accelerated Ice Loss

24 May 2016, by

A new study published in Geophysical Research Letters reports the findings of a pair of satellites that measure gravity to get a clearer picture of the continued ice mass loss in Greenland, the Gulf of Alaska, and the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. The study found accelerated ice loss in the Arctic, and steady loss in Alaska, […]

Scientists Look to Locals for Climate Change Study

18 May 2016, by

Climate change data is usually collected by scientific instruments and satellites, but a recent study in Nature Climate Change reveals the importance of collecting observations made by local communities. The observations of subsistence-oriented communities indicate that climate change is threatening local food security by impacting animals and plants integral to the continued survival of these […]

Ivory Gulls Made an Iceberg Their Home

17 May 2016, by

Researchers recently reported that a threatened species of Arctic seagull had made a colony in an unusual place— on an offshore iceberg. This is the first report of these gulls breeding on an iceberg. They reported in a short note published in the journal Polar Biology that ivory gulls, Pagophila eburnea, had formed a breeding […]

Roundup: Midges, Rotifers, and Iron-Eating Bacteria

16 May 2016, by

Each week, we highlight three stories from the forefront of glacier news.   Diversity of Midge Flies Near Italian Glaciers From Insect Conservation and Diversity: “A collection of approximately 100 000 chironomids (Diptera; Chironomidae) inhabiting glacial areas of the Southern Alps that were collected over a period of approximately four decades from 1977 to 2014 were […]

The Humble Tour Guide, Bridge to the Natural World

11 May 2016, by

Tour guides play an important role in visitors’ interactions with the natural world. Harald Schaller, a graduate student at the University of Iceland studying geography, argues in a chapter in the book, Tour guides in nature-based tourism: Perceptions of nature and governance of protected areas, that the tour guide is a key stakeholder in protected areas. Schaller […]

Massive 1929 Himalayan Flood is a Cautionary Tale

10 May 2016, by

Glacial lake outburst floods, known as GLOFs, have been a core focus of mountain research in recent years. Interest has grown as glacial lakes have developed and started to threaten communities and infrastructure. In March, GlacierHub covered the growing GLOF database, overseen by the International Consortium on Landslides. Since the beginning of 2016, 32 peer-reviewed, […]

Slower Evaporation Rate Spurs Tibetan Lake Growth

4 May 2016, by

A new study in the Journal of Hydrology uses a novel modelling technique that helps scientists understand the effect of evaporation on the expansion of lakes in the inner Tibetan Plateau. This research also has implications for the use of climate models on the Plateau. In addition, the work has broader significance for weather patterns […]

‘Foreign Policy’ Salutes the Cryosphere

3 May 2016, by

Last month, a Foreign Policy column focused on security issues turned its attention to the cryosphere. The writer, Sharon Burke, a senior advisor at the New America foundation and former Obama administration official, began by pointing out the “aesthetic pleasure” of the term “cryosphere”: The word sounds like some kind of secret realm, possibly involving dead […]

Aromatic, Medicinal Plants Flourish in the Himalayas

28 April 2016, by

In the region of the Himalayas from Bhutan, Nepal, and India, many aromatic plants grow and comprise a part of local people’s lives as medicine and food. In their review paper “Himalayan Aromatic Medicinal Plants: A Review of their Ethnopharmacology, Volatile Phytochemistry, and Biological Activities” in the journal Medicines, Rakesh K. Joshi, Prabodh Satyal, and William […]

On Glaciers, Moss Become Asexual

21 April 2016, by

A recent study from the journal Czech Polar Reports presents interesting findings about a rarity on glaciers: moss. When glaciers have a certain amount of moisture and cryoconite—a base layer that consists of small rock particles, soot, and microbes that have accumulated on glaciers— sometimes mosses can grow on them. While it is not common […]