Glacier Shrinkage Driving Global Changes in Downstream Systems
From Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America: “Glaciers cover ∼10% of the Earth’s land surface, but they are shrinking rapidly across most parts of the world, leading to cascading impacts on downstream systems. Glaciers impart unique footprints on river flow at times when other water sources are low. Changes in river hydrology and morphology caused by climate-induced glacier loss are projected to be the greatest of any hydrological system, with major implications for riverine and near-shore marine environments… We conclude that human society must plan adaptation and mitigation measures for the full breadth of impacts in all affected regions caused by glacier shrinkage.”
Learn more about the impacts of glacier retreat on water supply across various regions here.
Glacier Inventory and Recent Glacier Variations in the Andes of Chile
From the Annals of Glaciology: “The first satellite-derived inventory of glaciers and rock glaciers in Chile, created from Landsat TM/ETM+ images spanning between 2000 and 2003 using a semi-automated procedure, is presented in a single standardized format. Large glacierized areas in the Altiplano, Palena Province and the periphery of the Patagonian icefields are inventoried… Glacier attributes estimated from this new inventory provide valuable insights into spatial patterns of glacier shrinkage for assessing future glacier changes in response to climate change.”
Discover the distribution of glaciers in Chile and reports on their retreat here.
From the British Society of Geomorphology: “Glacier reconstruction typically aims to establish the former extent of ice masses at any given period. Such reconstructions are important because they provide crucial information about past (palaeo) glacier changes over much longer timescales than the observational record permits. Reconstructing the dimensions and dynamics of palaeo-ice masses enables equilibrium line altitudes, and temperature or precipitation to be calculated, making glaciers an important palaeo-climate proxy. Given this utility, geomorphologically-based glacier reconstructions have been generated for many regions globally, although the specific methods employed are rarely described formally. To address this shortcoming, this chapter describes some of the methods employed in generating geomorphologically-based reconstructions for ice sheets and mountain-scale glaciers (< ~1,000 km2).”
Explore the novel concept of restoring glaciers that have melted (albeit virtually) here.