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Does debris cover offset glacier retreat in the Greater Caucasus?

Elbrus Mountains

In this blog post, Levan Tielidze tells us about supra-glacial debris cover change for the Greater Caucasus. His recent study indicates more than a doubling in the area of supra-glacial debris cover for the Elbrus Massif‘s glaciers from 1986 to 2014, the largest glacierized massif in the whole region. 

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COVID-19 in Glacier Regions Update: Latin America Responds, Italy Uses Drones to Enforce Quarantine, and the US Copes

A village below the Peruvian Cordillera Blanca

 

For the past two weeks GlacierHub has made space in the usual Monday news roundup for coverage of the coronavirus pandemic as it impacts glacier regions. In continuing that reporting, the following is an aggregation of coronavirus news stories from global glacier regions, written by guest author Peter Deneen.

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Acodado Glacier, Chile Retreat Yields Tripling in Lake Area 1987 - 2020

Loriaux and Casassa (2013) examined the expansion of lakes of the Northern Patagonia Ice Cap (NPI). From 1945 to 2011 lake area expanded 65%, 66 km2. Rio Acodado has two large glacier termini at its headwater, HPN2 and HPN3. that are fed by the same accumulation zone and comprise the Acodado Glacier. The glacier separates from Steffen Glacier at 900 m. The lakes at the terminus of each were first observed in 1976 and had an area of 2.4 and 5.0 km2 in 2011 (Loriaux and Casassa, 2013).  Willis et al (2012) noted a 3.5 m thinning per year from 2001-2011 in the ablation zone of the Acodado Glacier, they also note annual velocity is less than 300 m/year in the ablation zone. Davies and Glasser (2012) noted that the Acodado Glacier termini, HPN2 and HPN3, had retreated at a steadily increasing rate from 1870 to 2011. Here we examine the substantial changes in Acodado Glacier from 1987...
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A Reservoir of Difficulties for Hydropower

Grande Dixence Dam

Hydropower will have to undergo big changes if it’s to meet the demands of the Energy Strategy 2050. But this old source of renewable energy is faced with problems today. We look at the recommendations made by the National Research Programme.

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Hiking for science: hydrological research at the Páramo of Chirripó, Costa Rica

[caption id="attachment_3902" align="alignright" width="300"] Weather stations installed at the Base Crestones shelterWritten by Germain Esquivel-Hernández, Associate Professor at the School of Chemistry of the National University in Costa Rica.Restricted to the latitudinal zone between the parallels of 11°N and 8°S, the Páramo is a key mountainous tropical ecosystem in South America because of the environmental services it provides, including high water production and carbon storage capacity. However, the so-called 'Isthmian Páramo' situated in Costa Rica and Panama remains understudied due to its remote location, compared to some of the better understood Páramo areas in South America. Here, I share how I embarked on a scientific journey to reveal the water secrets of the most extensive Páramo region in Central America: Chirripó.Chirripó is a national park with an extension of about 100 km2, situated in the Talamanca Range (southern Costa Rica), where approximately 30 lakes of glacial origin are found. Visiting Chirripó is not...
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Mountain Glaciers: Vanishing Sources of Water & Life

[gallery size="large" link="file" columns="5" ids="3796,3802,3797,3798,3799,3800,3801,3803,3804,3805"][caption id="attachment_3815" align="alignright" width="305"] Click to download the flyer.Mountain glaciers are among the most visible and emblematic indicators of climate change. Worldwide, glaciers are losing mass at unprecedented rates – a process that has accelerated in recent decades, with record losses in the 21st century. As an effect of widespread glacier shrinkage, the high mountains of the world are currently experiencing a historically unparalleled, large-scale environmental transformation, with profound and far-reaching impacts for landscapes, ecosystems, and people.Glaciers provide important ecosystem services. In the tropical Andes, for instance, glacier meltwater offers critical support to sensitive ecosystems such as high-mountain wetlands. Ongoing glacier retreat therefore gives rise to ecosystem changes, and the eventual disappearance of glaciers in future will ultimately disrupt these ecosystems and their service functions. Glacier retreat also impacts water provision for people and economies downstream. Central Asia, several regions in South Asia, and the tropical Andes...
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New Study Highlights Loss & Damage in Mountain Cryosphere

Written by Andrew Angle. This article was first published on GlacierHub.Few areas of the planet have been more affected by climate change than the mountain cryosphere, where negative impacts like glacier recession far exceed any positives like short-term increases in glacial runoff. These adverse changes make highland environments ideal for examining the policy concept of Loss and Damage (L&D), which deals with the impact of climate change on resources and livelihoods that cannot be offset by adaptation. A recent study in Regional Environmental Change analyzes L&D in the mountain cryosphere by extracting examples from existing literature on the subject and developing a conceptual approach to support future research to address the subject.L&D has become an important issue within the international climate policy realm in recent years. In the mountain cryosphere, the effects of climate change and the resultant L&D are directly evident. However, despite the visibility of these changes, research on L&D has rarely...
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Observing Glaciers in 'Real Time'

Written by Markus Gross. Source: ETH ZurichHot summers cause glaciers to melt. That not only changes the makeup of the landscape and hence the maps of Switzerland, it also affects every area of society. A new, dynamic glacier inventory makes the impact of climate change and the changing landscape visible.[caption id="attachment_3695" align="alignright" width="300"] Glacier observation under the spell of several Valais four-thousand-metre peaks. (Image copyright: GLAMOS / ETHZ)The last time Swiss glaciers managed to grow at all was in 2001. Since then, the country’s 1,500 glaciers – as well as others elsewhere – have been suffering a slow but inexorable death. Until now, though, we have understood only partially how quickly they are really disappearing, and what effect that has on the landscape, people and animals. That is about to change, thanks to the Glacier Monitoring in Switzerland (GLAMOS) project. GLAMOS is working on behalf of various Swiss federal offices to...
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The cold does not bother her anyway

[caption id="attachment_2783" align="alignright" width="300"] Gunjan Silwal, 29, during a research expedition to Yala glacier.On her desk, Gunjan Silwal is engrossed in her computer, analyzing glacier mass balance data, working on figures and graphs which to the untrained eye look rather like scribblings on a toddler’s drawing book. To the trained eye, however, these are essential records of how much mass has been added or lost over the years on Yala glacier. The one she is working on is for the annual mass balance of the glacier from 2014 to 2015.When Gunjan is finally done with her analysis, she will begin to prepare for yet another field expedition to the glacier. Come April, Gunjan and her peers will head up to Yala glacier to collect spring data.Gunjan, 29, joined the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)’s Cryosphere Initiative in 2016 as a research associate. She has spent a substantial amount of...
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Austrian Glacier Serves As Site for Mars Simulation

[caption id="attachment_2645" align="alignright" width="300"] Analog astronauts walking on a glacier in Austria (source: Österreichisches Weltraum Forum/Flickr).A manned mission to Mars is one step closer to becoming a reality thanks to a remote glacier in western Austria known mostly for its surrounding ski slopes and snow-capped mountain vistas.This post was originally posted last year on the GlacierHub.org by Ashley Chappo.The Kaunertal Glacier, located in the Tyrol state of Austria, recently served as a field site to test a mission of human researchers on Mars. A report detailing the findings of the analog mission was published in Acta Astronautica in September by Gernot Groemer, et al. The AMADEE-15 mission, coordinated by the Austrian Space Forum and 19 partner nations, lasted for 12 days in August 2015, during which a carefully chosen team of researchers performed selected experiments under realistic Martian surface conditions.But the glacier mission was not just a bunch of scientists playing pretend in an...
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