Roundup: Expanding Glaciers, Appraising the Himalaya, and Ice Worms

Study shows a glacier is expanding

From Frontiers in Earth Science: “There is strong variation in glacier mass balances in High Mountain Asia. Particularly interesting is the fact that glaciers are in equilibrium or even gaining mass in the Karakoram and Kunlun Shan ranges, which is in sharp contrast with the negative mass balances in the rest of High Mountain Asia. To understand this difference, an in-depth understanding of the meteorological drivers of the glacier mass balance is required.”

Read the study here.

The outer domain (D1, 25 km, middle panel), with its nests. Left panel shows the 1 km domain of Shimshal catchment (D3), and right panel 1 km domain of Langtang catchment (D5). The catchment outlines are indicated by black contours and glacier outlines of GLDAS dataset (Rodell et al., 2004) by blue contours. (Source: Frontiers of Earth Science)

An appraisal of Himalayan glaciers

From Proceedings of the Indian National Science Academy: “The present review takes stock of the growth of cryospheric research in India with reference to glaciers and snow in the Himalaya, which are sensitive marker of the climate change. Overview of the snout and mass balance data indicates accentuated rate of glacier recession during the 1970’s and 1980’s, particularly in the Central and NE Himalaya. Like elsewhere on the globe, the retreating trends are consistent with the hypothesis of the global warming resulting from the increasing anthropogenic emissions of Green Houses Gasses. In contrast, the Glaciers in the Karakoram region, Indus basin, fed by mid-latitude westerlies, show marginal advancement and/or near stagnation.”

Read the study here.

A view of the Himalaya (Source: orangems/Flickr)

Ice worms

From Proceedings of the Royal Society B: “Disentangling the contemporary and historical factors underlying the spatial distributions of species is a central goal of biogeography. For species with broad distributions but little capacity to actively disperse, disconnected geographical distributions highlight the potential influence of passive, long-distance dispersal (LDD) on their evolutionary histories. However, dispersal alone cannot completely account for the biogeography of any species, and other factors—e.g. habitat suitability, life history—must also be considered. North American ice worms (Mesenchytraeus solifugus) are ice-obligate annelids that inhabit coastal glaciers from Oregon to Alaska.”

Read the study here.

An iceworm (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Read More on GlacierHub:

New Mountain Bike Trails Highlight Long Island’s Glacier Remnants

To Travel or Not to Travel

New Heights in the Himalayas: High-Altitude Weather Monitoring

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If you build (an artificial glacier), they will come

https://www.flickr.com/photos/kenlund/1291996844/in/photolist-2YaPDE-fPdsWr-ittKQX-itumwT-itsxUL-itrYTq-ituePJ-ittBbL-itsgrX-ittfKc-ittvb6-itsg6s-itu4Hy-itsYCA-itsuWm-itsV3t-itsFUH-ittYPp-ittigf-ittfAg-its3D2-itsBpT-itsa6j-ittA8T-ittcTo-itt7qE-fPdsr2-nzqaKJ-itv23E-itrRLk-qUWW3-nB4wcJ-e8ifEq-itsoGB-e8czy6-e8ifx5-e8czvR-e8ifsm-e8ifkA-e8if3w-e8ieZA-e8ieX7-ittYjz-ituc9A-ituDUC-ittZkf-ittHK6-itvgZL-ittjBy-ittNDK/
Oregon’s Mount Hood has seen the decline of three of its glaciers, Flickr/Ken Lund

The concept of geoengineering artificial glaciers is starting to gain traction among glacier communities around the world. Advocates recently hosted a presentation on “Artificial Glaciers in the Northwest”

The presentation, delivered in April 2014 in Hood River, Oregon by Emily Smith and Tom Bennett of Portland State University, discussed the possibility of importing those techniques to the north side of Mount Hood. The mountain has seen the decline of its Eliot, Coe and Langille glaciers, and the presentation organizers hope that the method can offset the loss of those glaciers.

That method was created by Chewang Norphel, a civil engineer in Ladakh, India, who pioneered a way to “grow” glaciers in the Himalayas. A short film about Norphel’s mission to create small glaciers in Nepal, “Beyond Prayer”, shows the retired engineer describing his technique, which relies on the redirection of streams in the winter to cool areas, and constructing breaks to slow the flow of water. The water freezes along the mountain slope at regular intervals. During the winter, an ice sheet covers these frozen pools, creating small, artificial glaciers.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jace/4337244484/
Civil engineer Chewang Norphel created a technique to restore melting glaciers. (Flickr/Kiran Jonnalagadda)

Norphel had the irrigation of villages in mind when he developed the artificial glaciers, so it is unclear if it will be used in Oregon. That low cost geoengineering techniques from Nepal are finding their way to glacier communities of the Pacific Northwest U.S. speaks to the common challenges and threats faced by communities throughout the world, and to the growing awareness within these communities that they can benefit from more contact with each another.

BEYOND PRAYER from SPOTFILMS on Vimeo.

 

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