Roundup: Oxygen Isotope, Non-biting Midges and Prokaryotes

Holocene Atmospheric Circulation in the Central North Pacific

From ScienceDirect: “The North Pacific is a zone of cyclogenesis [the development of an area of low pressure in the atmosphere, resulting in the formation of a cyclone] that modulates synoptic-scale atmospheric circulation. We present the first Holocene oxygen isotope record (δ18Odiatom) from the Aleutian Islands supported by diatom assemblage analysis. Our results demonstrate distinct shifts in the prevailing trajectory of storm systems that drove spatially heterogeneous patterns of moisture delivery and climate across the region.”

Read more about the new Holocene oxygen isotope record from the Aleutian Islands here.

A satellite picture of the Aleutian Island Range
Aerial view of the Aleutian Islands amidst the clouds (Source: NASA).

 

The Enigma of Survival Strategies in Glacial Stream Environments

From Freshwater Biology: “Glacier retreat is a key component of environmental change in alpine environments, leading to significant changes in glacier-fed rivers. The species compositions of Diamesinae and Orthocladiinae (of the non-biting midges family) are diverse and strongly affected by the changing habitat conditions upon glacier retreat. Here, we show that Diamesinae have extremely flexible feeding strategies that explain their abundance, high body-mass and predominance in glacier-fed streams.”

Discover more about the insects that live within the glacier-fed streams here.

Midge
A winter-emerging midge (Source: Flickr).

 

Phylogenetic Diversity of Prokaryotes on Lewis Glacier in Mount Kenya

From African Journal of Microbiology Research: “The seasonal snowpack of the temperate glaciers are sources of diverse microbial inoculi. However, the microbial ecology of the tropical glacial surfaces is endangered, hence posing an extinction threat to some populations of some microbes due to rapid loss of the glacier mass. The aim of this study was to isolate and phylogenetically characterise the prokaryotes from the seasonal snow of Lewis glacier in Mt. Kenya. Analyzing snow samples, the results confirm that the seasonal tropical snowpack of Lewis glacier is dominated by the general terrestrial prokaryotes (e.g. Bacillus with 53%) and a few glacier and snow specialist species (e.g. Cryobacterium with 5.9%).”

Find out more about these cellular organisms living on the surface of a Mount Kenya glacier here.

Cryobacterium
Cryobacterium (Source: Reddy et al.).

 

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Photo Friday: Crowd-Sourced Images of Glacier Retreat

Imagine if we had a crowd-sourced digital record of the damage climate change is causing to our planet. That’s the mission of Project Pressure, an UK-based organization dedicated to documenting and publicizing the world’s vanishing glaciers. With MELT, an open source digital atlas, Project Pressure hopes to give the public a new tool to visually tour the world’s receding glaciers, helping us all to better understand the ongoing impact of rising global temperatures.

Rather than relying on satellite images and direct measurement, two techniques that have their limits, Project Pressure hopes to document glacier fluctuations of the world’s 300,000 glaciers through comparative imagery. This will allow researchers to analyze glaciers otherwise inaccessible for direct measurement and provide new visual insights to changes in glacier length.  The images are both heartbreaking and alarming, demonstrating both the staggering beauty of our world glaciers and their current state of decline.

Take a look at GlacierHub’s collection of images from Project Pressure, and learn more about the initiative here.

 

 

Glacier sediments are clearly visible entering the Pacific Ocean. Grand Plateau, Alaska 2011 (source: Klaus Thymann/Project Pressure)
Glacier sediments are visible entering the Pacific Ocean. Grand Plateau, Alaska 2011 (source: Klaus Thymann/Project Pressure).

 

 

The Pallin Halvjökull is set within the artic circle in northern Sweden. Pallin Glacier Tunnel, 2013 (source: Klaus Thymann/Project Pressure).
The Pallin Halvjökull is set within the Arctic Circle in northern Sweden. Pallin Glacier Tunnel, 2013 (source: Klaus Thymann/Project Pressure).

 

 

In 1963 Lewis glacier ran past the guides’ hut, taken from the series ‘When I Am Laid in Earth’ by Simon Norfolk Lewis Glacier, Kenya 2014 (source: Simon Norfolk/Project Pressure).
In 1963, Lewis Glacier ran past the guides’ hut. Taken from the series ‘When I Am Laid in Earth’ by Simon Norfolk. Lewis Glacier, Kenya 2014 (source: Simon Norfolk/Project Pressure).

 

 

The Helheim glacier is connected to the Greenlandic icesheet and spans approx. 5.5 kilometers in width. Helheim, Greenland 2012 (source: Klaus Thymann/Project Pressure).
The Helheim Glacier is connected to the Greenland Icesheet and spans approx. 5.5 kilometers in width. Helheim, Greenland, 2012 (source: Klaus Thymann/Project Pressure).

 

 

Working closely with the Glacier World Monitoring Service this glacier was selected to be documented. Findel, Switzerland, 2009 (source: Klaus Thymann/Project Pressure).
Working closely with the Glacier World Monitoring Service, this glacier was selected to be documented. Findel, Switzerland, 2009 (source: Klaus Thymann/Project Pressure).

 

 

The Perrito Moreno glacier is 30km in length stemming from the south Patagonian ice field, Moreno, Argentina 2008 (source: Klaus Thymann/Project Pressure).
Perito Moreno Glacier is 30km in length stemming from the Southern Patagonian Icefield. Moreno, Argentina 2008 (source: Klaus Thymann/Project Pressure).

 

 

Wavelike formation next to the Tuv Glacier in the Hornsund fjord, Southern Svalbard, 2013 (source: Corey Arnold/Project Pressure).
Wavelike formation next to the Tuv Glacier in Hornsund Fjord. Southern Svalbard, 2013 (source: Corey Arnold/Project Pressure).

 

 

One of the few glaciers encompassed by trees. Spegazzini, Argentina, 2008 (source: Klaus Thymann/Project Pressure).
One of the few glaciers encompassed by trees. Spegazzini, Argentina, 2008 (source: Klaus Thymann/Project Pressure).

 

 

 

 

 

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