Roundup: CLIMATE CONFESSION, Turkey Avalanches, and Announcing The Earthshot Prize

A Planetary Scientist Admits He Was Wrong

Planetary scientist and glaciologist Jeff Kargel was thinking about climate change on Earth without enough consideration for irreversible changes––he wants you to know what he now understands. “My confession is that the signs and the models were in place by 2005, but I was still thinking in gradualistic terms. I was not thinking about abruptly changing behaviors of the gigantic currents of the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans. In 2005, I thought that climate change was gradual and readily manageable. I was wrong. I didn’t consider nonlinear effects— the tipping points— that climate change would have on individual components of the Earth system.”

Read the full admission by Jeff Kargel on GlacierHub here.

Imja Lake, Nepal, and its natural end moraine dam (Source: Jeff Kargel).

Province in Turkey Hit by Multiple Avalanches

Turkey’s Van Province suffered a series of devastating natural disasters the first week of February, with two avalanches occurring within 24 hours of each other. The avalanches were triggered in the same area near a highway outside of the town of Bahcesaray. The first avalanche struck on February 4 and the second followed on February 5. The Turkish Natural Disaster and Crisis Directorate announced the following day that the death toll had climbed to 41 with nearly 100 others injured.

Read the story by Zoë Klobus on GlacierHub here.

‘The Most Prestigious’ Environment Prize In History

In October 2019, GlacierHub reported on Prince William and Duchess Catherine’s visit to a remote Pakistani village, Bumburet, in the Hindu Kush to view the Chiatibo Glacier––the first time the couple had seen a melting glacier. Less than three months later, on the eve of the New Year 2020, the couple announced The Earthshot Prize, which is being called “the most prestigious environment prize in history.”

Read the story by Ecowatch here and see the short clip, narrated by David Attenborough, below.

Read More On GlacierHub:

Photo Friday: Humble Energy Ad Boasts About Melting Glaciers in ’62

Video of the Week: Time-Lapse Video Shows Fluid Nature of the Cryosphere

Coronavirus is Expanding Into the Mountain Regions of Western China

Photo Friday: Province in Turkey Hit by Multiple Avalanches

Turkey’s Van Province suffered a series of devastating natural disasters this week, with two avalanches occurring within 24 hours of each other. The avalanches were triggered in the same area near a highway outside of the town of Bahcesaray. The first avalanche struck on Tuesday and the second followed on Wednesday. The Turkish Natural Disaster and Crisis Directorate announced on Thursday that the death toll had climbed to 41 with nearly 100 others injured.

Following the first avalanche, hundreds of rescue workers responded to the scene. As a result, many of the victims of the avalanches were rescuers attempting to aid those first buried by the snow. As of Thursday, emergency workers were continuing to search for their colleagues. However, snow, fog, and windy conditions delayed their efforts. According to Turkey’s interior ministry, at least 30 rescuers had been pulled from or escaped from under the snow and have since been hospitalized for their injuries.

The mountain on which the avalanches occurred is Hasanbesir Tepesi, which has an elevation of 3,497 meters (11,473 feet). The road that was buried is one of the highest in the country and in all of Europe. Known as a dangerous route to travel, it is often closed due to inclement weather.

The Van Province lies on the eastern edge of Turkey, sharing a border with Iran. The region is mountainous and home to nearly 23 square kilometers of glaciers. Hasanbesir Tepesi, the mountain where the avalanches took place, also hosts a number of glaciers.

Van Province highlighted on a map of Turkey (Source: Wiki Commons/ Florenco~commonswiki)

According to the latest IPCC report, glaciers around the world have declined as a result of climate change, which has increased dangers from natural hazards. Retreating glaciers and thawing permafrost leave mountain slopes unstable and weaken infrastructure. Due to this instability, increases in the number of avalanches involving wet snow during winter months are projected. Mountainous regions are home to 10 percent of the world’s population. As Earth’s climate continues to warm it is likely that disastrous avalanches, like those seen in Turkey, will continue to impact mountain communities.

Read More on GlacierHub:

Ancient Viruses Awaken as the Tibetan Plateau Melts

Video of the Week: First Footage From Beneath Thwaites Glacier

Tracing the Reach of An Interdisciplinary Antarctic Study