Video of the Week: British Royals Visit Chiatibo Glacier in Pakistan

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge traveled earlier this month to a remote Pakistani village, Bumburet, in the Hindu Kush to view the Chiatibo Glacier. The royal visit is notable because it is the first time the couple has seen a melting glacier. 

In a two and a half minute video published by Sky News, the couple discusses climate change and interacts with members of a nearby community.

As a result of rising temperatures in the region, Chiatibo is retreating at a rate of 10 meters each year. Melting glaciers in the Hindu Kush and Himalayas threaten drinking water supplies for 1.6 billion people. Bumburet was hit in 2015 by intense flooding and a landslide, which destroyed homes, a police station, and agricultural lands.

The most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, published Sept. 25, describes the dire state of the world’s oceans and cryosphere and the projected consequences of human-caused climate change. In addition to describing the risk of long-term depletion of water resources, such as at Chiatibo, the report also highlights the risk of flooding and landslides brought about by glacial melt.

The Kalash people of Bumberet have a rich history and culture that pre-dates both Islam and Christianity. But the 2015 flooding left them with lingering anxiety, Sky reports. Some villagers have proposed moving to higher elevations in order to escape the dangers brought about glacier melt, highlighting the extent to which climate change is threatening societies that have endured harsh climates for centuries.

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British royals visit Pakistani glacier

From the Telegraph:

“The Duke of Cambridge has warned that the world risks losing ‘many of the precious things we care about’ if it fails to take action on climate change, as he visits a melting glacier in Pakistan.

The Duke, who travelled to the north of Pakistan on the third day of their tour, said the couple hoped to ‘use our voice and lend our position’ to talk about the environment and climate change.

[…]

The Duke and Duchess have spent the day in a remote location in the Hindu Kush mountain range in northern Pakistan, beginning at the Chiatibo Glacier in Broghil National Park.

They were shown how the ice has retreated rapidly in recent years due to global warming in their first opportunity to see a melting glacier in real life.”

Read the article here.

Trump administration proposes logging in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest

From the Washington Post:

“The Trump administration Tuesday proposed allowing logging on more than half of Alaska’s 16.7 million-acre Tongass National Forest, the largest intact temperate rainforest in North America.

President Trump instructed federal officials to reverse long-standing limits on tree cutting at the request of Alaska’s top elected officials, on the grounds that it will boost the local economy. But critics say that protections under the “roadless rule,” finalized just before President Bill Clinton left office in 2001, are critical to protecting the region’s lucrative salmon fishery and tourism operations.

The U.S. Forest Service said it would publish a draft environmental impact statement this week (Oct. 15) that, if enacted, would exempt the Tongass from the 2001 roadless rule.”

The Mendenhall Glacier, among many others, is located within Tongass National Forest.

Read the article here.

Mendenhall Glacier (Source: Wikimedia Commons/
Jay Galvin)

New cracks observed in Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier

From the European Space Agency:

“The Copernicus Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 satellites have revealed new cracks, or rifts, in the Pine Island Glacier—one of the primary ice arteries in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. The two large rifts were first spotted in early 2019 and have each rapidly grown to approximately 20 km in length.

Mark Drinkwater, Head of the Earth and Mission Sciences Division at ESA, says, ‘These new rifts appeared very soon after last year’s major calving of iceberg B46. Sentinel-1 winter monitoring of their progressive extension signals that a new iceberg of similar proportions will soon be calved.'”

Read more here.

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