The Microscopic Life of Glaciers

7 October 2015, by

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 […]

Rhone Watershed At Risk from Climate Change

1 October 2015, by

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 […]

Glacier Residents Include Birds and Mammals

30 September 2015, by

A recent article in the Journal of Biogeography provides the first systematic review of birds and mammals which include glaciers (and perennial snow patches) as part of their regular habitats. The author, Jørgen Rosvold of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, documents the great importance of these cold frozen environments for a number of […]

Climate Variability Shapes Glacier Retreat in Peru and Norway

24 September 2015, by

Two recent studies, one in Peru and the other in Norway, link glacier retreat, not to climate change as many researchers have done, but to climate variability—the fluctuations in temperature and precipitation across large regions of the world, on time scales of years or decades. These studies add an important level of detail to the […]

Beer Funds Glacier Research

23 September 2015, by

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

Roundup: Swiss Blankets and Data, Participation in Tajikistan

21 September 2015, by

Blankets covering Swiss glacier to halt ice melt is a temporary fix “From a distance, the Rhone glacier seems perfect, but when seen closely, the surface is covered with white blankets for slowing down the melting of the rapidly retreating ice. The dusty, white fleece covers a huge area near the glacier’s edge. But there […]

Worms Contribute to Soil Ecology After Glacier Retreat

16 September 2015, by

The rock, gravel, sand and fine particles that are trapped under glaciers for millennia undergo major changes as glaciers retreat. Once they are exposed to the atmosphere, they are colonized by a variety of organisms and develop soils. They shift from having relatively few species of bacteria to developing more complex ecosystems. Studying nematodes — or roundworms […]

Cameron Glacier Valley Map

Photo Friday: Glacial Moraine Maps as Art

11 September 2015, by

Joerg Schaefer, a geoscience researcher at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, specializes in tracing the history of moraines through cosmogenic radionuclide dating. He depicts the results of his research in maps of moraines–the accumulation of glacial till and sediment at the end, or snout, of a glacier, or along its sides. While scientific in nature, the […]


Photo Friday: Images from an Andean Expedition

4 September 2015, by

Gustavo Valdivia, an anthropology PhD student at Johns Hopkins University, as well as a former contributor to GlacierHub, went on an expedition to Quelccaya Glacier in the Peruvian Andes this summer, led by the prominent glaciologist Lonnie Thompson. In a recent email to GlacierHub, he wrote, “In these photos, I try to document the way that […]

Emerging Storms: Glacier Dust and Climate Change

27 August 2015, by

Dust storms are most often associated with hot deserts. However, there are 5 million square kilometres of cold arid land globally where significant dust storms have been reported. The combination of sparse vegetation and strong winds make some humid cold climate areas important dust sources. These can be found in Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Iceland […]

Did Glaciers Lure Wolves Back into California?

26 August 2015, by

After more than 90 years since the last wolf in California was killed, a pack was recently observed near Mount Shasta. Its presence was established by photographs taken earlier this month by trail cameras managed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). These images show five gray wolf pups and two adults in […]

Roundup: Tien Shan, Breweries, and Glacier Plants

24 August 2015, by

Glacier Loss in Tien Shan Populations in Central Asia are heavily dependent on snow and glacier melt for their water supplies. Changes to the glaciers in the main mountain range in this region, the Tien Shan, have been reported over the past decade. However, reconstructions over longer, multi-decadal timescales and the mechanisms underlying these variations—both […]