Roundup: New Carbon Sink Discovery, Himalaya GLOFs, and Invasive Plants in Antarctica

Proglacial Freshwaters Found to be Carbon Sinks

Researchers in Canada have discovered that proglacial freshwaters are important carbon sinks. Glacier retreat has often been considered a negative consequence of climate change, but this finding suggests there may be benefits as well.

Read the story by Zoë Klobus on GlacierHub here.

Researcher Kyra St Pierre conducts field work on the Blister River (Source: Kyra St Pierre)

Himalaya GLOF Threat Featured in National Geographic Features

From National Geographic: “Scientists say the accelerated melting of Asia’s estimated 56,000 glaciers is creating hundreds of new lakes across the Himalaya and other high mountain ranges. If the natural dam holding a glacial lake in place fails, the resulting flood could wipe out communities situated in the valleys below. Engineers in Nepal are looking at ways to lower the most dangerous lakes to reduce the threat.

“It’s all happening much faster than we expected it to even five or 10 years ago,” says Alton Byers, a National Geographic explorer and mountain geographer at the University of Colorado Boulder.”

Read the story here.

Upper Barun Valley, Nepal which features results of the Langmale GLOF on the lower left side of the image (Source: Roger Nix/Flickr)

An Invasive Plant Species Is Taking Over Antarctica’s Glacier Forelands

Invasive species are an enormous threat in Antarctica where one non-native vascular plant species is widespread and studies have shown negative impacts on native flora. The continent has only two species of “higher” plants, but a newcomer has people worried. New research shows that it is often founds in “glacier forelands”––areas exposed by recent glacier retreat.

From the abstract: “Using field “common garden” experiments, we evaluate the competitive impact of the increasingly wide- spread invasive grass Poa annua on the only two native vascular species of Antarctica, the forb Colobanthus quitensis and the grass Deschampsia antarctica. We focus on interactions between these three plant species under current and a future, wetter, climate scenario, in terms of density of individuals.”

Read the study here.

Pa, the invasive species, and the two native species (Source: Molina-Montenegro, etc al).

Read More on GlacierHub:

Antarctic Fungi Provides a Window into the Past and Future

Off with the Wind: The Reproduction Story of Antarctic Lichens

GLOF Risk Perception in Nepal Himalaya