Retrieved from: Science Daily
“Researchers taking a new look at the snow and ice covering Mount Everest and the national park that surrounds it are finding abundant evidence that the world’s tallest peak is shedding its frozen cloak. The scientists have also been studying temperature and precipitation trends in the area and found that the Everest region has been warming while snowfall has been declining since the early 1990s.
Glaciers in the Mount Everest region have shrunk by 13 percent in the last 50 years and the snowline has shifted upward by 180 meters (590 feet), according to Sudeep Thakuri, who is leading the research as part of his PhD graduate studies at the University of Milan in Italy.
The researchers suspect that the decline of snow and ice in the Everest region is from human-generated greenhouse gases altering global climate. However, they have not yet established a firm connection between the mountains’ changes and climate change, Thakuri said.
“The Himalayan glaciers and ice caps are considered a water tower for Asia since they store and supply water downstream during the dry season,” said Thakuri. “Downstream populations are dependent on the melt water for agriculture, drinking, and power production.”
Read more: Science Daily
Photo retrieved from: www.chinadialogue.net
“The Tibetan Plateau covers approximately a quarter of China’s land area, spreading out over 2.5 million square kilometres in the west of the country. Home to the largest store of freshwater outside of the poles, it feeds water into Asia’s major rivers which supply water to over a billion people. As a result of anthropogenic climate change, temperatures are rising on the Tibetan Plateau faster than anywhere else in Asia. The effects of these changes are becoming more evident in the form of melting glaciers, intensified weather events, increasing desertification and degraded grasslands.
In the town of Heishui, in northern Sichuan province, the effects of climate change are being felt firsthand by the people who reside in this south-eastern corner of the plateau. The Dagu glacier which sits above the town lies at over 5,000 metres. But it’s quickly retreating due to rising temperatures in the region. Just 50 kilometres downstream, the water run-off from the glacier slows and stagnates behind one of the country’s largest and newest hydropower constructions, the 147-metre high Maoergai Dam.”
Read more: China Dialogue
The lodge at Bolivia’s Chacaltaya Glacier. Retrieved from: www.earthfirstnews.com
“As polar bears watch their winter ice recede farther and farther from boggy Arctic shores each year, skiers may notice a similar trend occurring in the high mountain ranges that have long been their wintertime playgrounds. Here, in areas historically buried in many feet of snow each winter, climate change is beginning to unfurl visibly, and for those who dream of moguls and fresh powder, the predictions of climatologists are grim: By 2050, Sierra Nevada winter snowpack may have decreased by as much as 70 percent from average levels of today; in the Rockies, the elevation of full winter snow cover mayincrease from 7,300 feet today to 10,300 feet by the year 2100; in Aspen, the ski season could retreat at both ends by a total of almost two months; and throughout the Western United States, average snow depths could decline by anywhere between 25 and—yep—100 percent.”
Read more: Earth First
Retrieved from: Opits link fest
“In the Nepalese Himalayas in 2009, I trekked into the Langtang Valley, just short of the Tibetan border, and to a village of empty plywood cabins. The arrival of the summer monsoon season had chased the trekkers away.
“Just uphill was a Buddhist temple and, behind it, a wrinkled sea of gray ice reached up the steep mountain walls into the clouds – the Langtang Lirung glacier, one of thousands that make up the largest body of ice outside the poles. In the winter, these glaciers capture precipitation that melts off in warmer months to feed the Ganges,Indus, and Brahmaputra rivers – and 1.5 billion people in eight countries who depend on them.
“Villagers talked of the arrival of mosquitoes – heralds of warmer summers and milder winters. The accelerated glacial melt is expected to increase floods in countries downstream over coming decades; earlier melts can reduce water when it’s needed most.
“In the long run, says Madhav Karki, director of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, the rivers themselves may become seasonal, with potentially profound effects on the countries below.”
Read more: Yahoo
Photo retrieved from: www.reuters.com
“The extent of ice probably hit its low point on September 16, when it covered 1.32 million square miles (3.42 million square km) of the Arctic Ocean, the smallest amount since satellite records began 33 years ago.
Changing weather conditions could further shrink the extent, the center said. A final analysis is expected next month.
The record was broken on August 26, when the ice shrank below the record set in 2007. After that, it kept melting for three more weeks, bringing the ice extent – defined by NSIDC as the area covered by at least 15 percent ice – to nearly half of the 1979-2000 average.
“We are now in uncharted territory,” Mark Serreze, the center’s director, said in a statement. “While we’ve long known that as the planet warms up, changes would be seen first and be most pronounced in the Arctic, few of us were prepared for how rapidly the changes would actually occur.”
The summer ice isn’t just dwindling. It is also thin, relatively fragile seasonal ice instead of the hardier multi-year ice that can better withstand bright sunlight.”
Read more: Reuters
Photo retrieved from: www.commondreams.org
“In 2007, a new record was set for the minimum summer sea ice cover in the Arctic had halved. This furious flag waving attracted attention. That year, the world’s scientists declared the end of any doubt that our addiction to burning fossil fuels was changing the face of the planet. Al Gore expounded his inconvenient truth and the world seemed set to act.
Today, that 2007 record is smashed and the shredded white flag is now flickering rathering than flashing. But the danger is greater than even, even if the alarm signal is frayed.
The last great global ice melt the planet witnessed came 10,000 years ago at the end of a deep ice age. As glaciers retreated, a benign and balmy climate emerged in which the human race has flourished. Our entire civilisation is built on the warm soils left as the ice sheets melted.
This new great melting heralds the polar opposite: the gravest of threats to civilisation. Removing the lid from the pole will release heat equivalent to fast-forwarding human-caused climate change by two decades, say scientists.”
Read more: Common Dreams
Photo retrieved from: www.alternet.org
“The rapid melting, based on satellite observations, suggests the ice field’s contribution to global sea-level rise has increased by half since the end of the 20th century, jumping from 0.04 millimeters per year to about .07 mm, and accounting for 2 percent of annual sea-level rise since 1998.
The southern and northern Patagonian ice fields are the largest mass of ice in the southern hemisphere outside of Antarctica. The findings spell trouble for other glaciers worldwide, according to the study’s lead author, Cornell University researcher Michael Willis.”
“Patagonia is kind of a poster child for rapidly changing glacier systems,” he said in a statement. The region, he added, “is supplying water to sea-level at a big rate compared to its size.”
Read more: Alternet
Photo retrieved from: www.yale.edu
“During four of the last 10 summers, more than half of the 800-mile Tarim River in northwestern China ran dry. Landscape ecologist Niels Thevs has been there conducting fieldwork and has watched water shortages take the heaviest toll on downstream cotton farmers, who irrigate six or seven times during the growing cycle. “One could really feel the struggle for water,” Thevs recalls. “People did everything they could.” But their typical strategy — drilling wells — only further depleted the basin’s groundwater reserves.
With its population growing and agricultural activity intensifying, the Tarim River basin, the largest arid inland basin in China, is facing threats to water security that also are confronting the nearby nations of Central Asia. But on the horizon is another challenge that will only exacerbate the region’s growing water woes: melting glaciers. The Tarim basin receives about 40 percent of its water from glacial runoff, and although glacial melting may initially provide the basin with more water, scientists say the inevitable shrinking of many glaciers will likely reduce total available water. That could leave downstream farmers and communities high and dry.”
Read more: Yale Environment 360
Retrieved from: USA today
“Nearly all of Greenland’s massive ice sheet suddenly started melting a bit this month, a freak event that surprised scientists.
“Even Greenland’s coldest and highest place, Summit station, showed melting. Ice core records show that last happened in 1889 and occurs about once every 150 years.
“Three satellites show what NASA calls unprecedented melting of the ice sheet that blankets the island, starting on July 8 and lasting four days. Most of the thick ice remains. While some ice usually melts during the summer, what was unusual was that the melting happened in a flash and over a widespread area.
“The ice melt area went from 40 percent of the ice sheet to 97 percent in four days, according to NASA. Until now, the most extensive melt seen by satellites in the past three decades was about 55 percent.
“Wagner said researchers don’t know how much of Greenland’s ice melted, but it seems to be freezing again.
“When we see melt in places that we haven’t seen before, at least in a long period of time, it makes you sit up and ask what’s happening?” NASA chief scientistWaleed Abdalati said. It’s a big signal, the meaning of which we’re going to sort out for years to come.”
“About the same time, a giant iceberg broke off from thePetermann Glacier in northern Greenland. And the National Snow and Ice Data Center on Tuesday announced that the area filled with Arctic sea ice continues near a record low.”
Read more: USA today
Petermann Glacier. Retrieved from: www.aljazeera.com
“A massive iceberg twice the size of Manhattan has broken away from Greenland’s Petermann Glacier, scientists have said.
“The floating extension (of the glacier) is breaking apart,” Eric Rignot of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a statement on Thursday.
“It is not a collapse, but it is certainly a significant event.”
This is the second time in less than two years that the Petermann Glacier has calved a monstrous ice island. In 2010, it unleashed another massive ice chunk into the sea.
The latest break was observed by NASA’s Aqua satellite, which passes over the North Pole several times a day, and was noted by Trudy Wohlleben of the Canadian Ice Service.
“At this time of year, we’re always watching the Petermann Glacier,” Wohlleben said, because it can spawn big icebergs that invade North Atlantic shipping lanes or imperil oil platforms in the Grand Banks off Newfoundland.”
Read more: Aljazeera