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Posts Tagged ‘glaciers’

Colorado climber now documenting retreat of Himalayan glaciers

August 6, 2013 Comments off

denverpost.com

By John Meyer

The Main Rongbuk Glacier, shot in Tibet by David Breashears in 2007. When compared with the 1921 photo shot by George Mallory, below, it clearly shows how much the glacier receded in 86 years. Breashears is a former Denver climber who has summited Everest five times. (David Breashears, 2007, Special to The Denver Post)

This year marks two major anniversaries in the history of Mount Everest. It has been 60 years since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first to reach its summit, and 50 years since the first five Americans did it, including the epic first ascent of the West Ridge by Tom Hornbein and Willi Unsoeld.

David Breashears, who was deeply inspired by Hornbein and Unsoeld as a teenager in Denver, became an iconic rock climber in Eldorado Canyon in the 1970s and went on to make history of his own on Everest. Now he’s more concerned about a different kind of history being made there.

The glaciers around Everest and throughout the Himalayas are receding rapidly.

“They are the ultimate canary in the mine,” said Breashears, who Read more…

Unprecedented glacier melting in the Andes blamed on climate change

January 22, 2013 Comments off

phys.org

pastorurimelt.jpgGlaciers in the tropical Andes have been retreating at increasing rate since the 1970s, scientists write in the most comprehensive review to date of Andean glacier observations. The researchers blame the melting on rising temperatures as the region has warmed about 0.7°C over the past 50 years (1950-1994). This unprecedented retreat could affect water supply to Andean populations in the near future. These conclusions are published today in The Cryosphere, an Open Access journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU).

The international team of scientists – uniting researchers from Europe, South America and the US – shows in the new paper that, since the 1970s, glaciers in tropical Andes have been melting at a rate unprecedented in the past 300 years. Globally, glaciers have been retreating at a moderate pace as the planet warmed after the peak of the Little Ice Age, a cold period lasting from the 16th to the mid-19th century. Over the past few decades, however, the rate of melting has increased steeply in the tropical Andes. Glaciers in the mountain range have shrunk by an average of 30-50% since the 1970s, according Read more…

West Antarctica Warming in Triple Time

December 26, 2012 Comments off

discovery.com

Bromwich

The study by Bromwich and colleagues suggests that such exceptional melting events as in January 2005 could become more frequent in the future. Top: Map of Antarctica showing the extent of surface melting in January 2005 observed from space. Bottom: Time series of mean January temperature at Byrd Station from 1957 to 2011 with the warm January 2005 highlighted with a yellow circle. Credit: background map from Google Earth; satellite observations of surface melting courtesy of G. Picard (LGGE)

The West Antarctic Ice Sheet is warming at twice the rate previously thought, say scientists who have teased the information from more than 50 years of temperature data at Byrd Station, in the center of the ice. The average temperature at that station has risen Read more…

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CU-Boulder study shows global glaciers, ice caps, shedding billions of tons of mass annually

February 13, 2012 Comments off

eurekalert.org

Study also shows Greenland, Antarctica and global glaciers and ice caps lost roughly 8 times the volume of Lake Erie from 2003-2010

IMAGE: A new CU-Boulder study using the NASA/Germany GRACE satellite shows Earth is losing roughly 150 billion tons of ice annually. Credit-NASA

Earth’s glaciers and ice caps outside of the regions of Greenland and Antarctica are shedding roughly 150 billion tons of ice annually, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder.

The research effort is the first comprehensive satellite study of the contribution of the world’s melting glaciers and ice caps to global sea level rise and indicates they are adding roughly 0.4 millimeters annually, said CU-Boulder physics Professor John Wahr, who helped lead the study. The measurements are important because the melting of the world’s glaciers and ice caps, along with Greenland and Antarctica, pose the greatest threat to sea level increases in the future, Wahr said.

The researchers used satellite measurements taken with the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, or GRACE, a joint effort of NASA and Germany, to calculate that the world’s glaciers and ice caps had lost about 148 billion tons, or about 39 cubic miles of ice annually from 2003 to 2010. The total does not count the mass from individual glacier and ice caps on the fringes of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets — roughly an additional 80 billion tons.

“This is the first time anyone has looked at all of the mass loss from all of Earth’s glaciers and Read more…

Manhattan-sized Glaciers Break off at Both Ends of the Globe

February 6, 2012 Comments off

technorati.com

Following the recent report by MSNBC of a glacier break up in Greenland estimated at twice the size of Manhattan, the National Geographic now reported that another glacier in Antarctica, this time just about the size of Manhattan (is the size of Manhattan the rule of thumb when calculating glacier sizes?) is about to break off as well.

Experts relate that they are worried about the effects this may have on the rising sea level, but what about the collective effects ? Both sites are deemed responsible for possible changes to the ocean currents.

Take the North Atlantic for example, the gulf stream takes warm water from the tropics upstream towards the north, contributing to the warm climate in Europe. As the current hits Greenland it reaches fresh water which causes the salty water to sink and sends warm water back down towards the south.

The problem with glaciers breaking off and eventually melting is that it is reducing the salty warm water moving south, thus slowing down the entire flow. This flow reduction may cause Read more…

Greenland’s Petermann Glacier Melting at Alarming Rate

September 6, 2011 Comments off

ibtimes

Scientists say the disintegration of the Petermann Glacier — measuring 186 miles long and 3,280 feet high — may just be the tip of the iceberg concerning climate change’s impact in colder zones.

New photographs show the quick pace at which the massive ice sheet has shrunk over the past two years. Last year, a swath of ice measuring 77 square miles separated and a further piece twice the size of Manhattan could break off in the next year, according to Dr. Alun Hubbard of Aberystwth University, who has been monitoring the Greenland ice sheet for some years.

Oblique view of the Petermann glacier front on 24 July 2009.Related Articles

In 2009, scientists placed GPS masts on the glacier to track its movement, ahead of the major break off of ice that eventually occurred on August 3, 2010. Greenland’s glaciers have lost an Read more…

Giant Chunk of Greenland Ice Set to Break Away

September 2, 2011 Comments off

ouramazingplanet

petermann-glacier-iceberg-100903-02.gifIn 2010, the Manhattan-sized Petermann glacier iceberg enters the Nares Strait: Credit: European Space Agency.

An ice shelf is poised to break off from a Greenland glacier and float out to sea as an island twice the size of Manhattan, scientists say.

“I don’t know exactly when,” Jason Box, a climatologist with Ohio State Unversity’s Byrd Polar Research Center, told OurAmazingPlanet. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened today — or if it happened next summer.”

Just a year ago, in August 2010, the same glacier produced an even larger iceberg — a mass of ice four times the size of Manhattan, the largest in recorded Greenland history — yet researchers warn that the next spectacular break could have more-dire consequences.

Box said it’s not clear when the 62-square-mile (160 square kilometers) ice shelf, which is Read more…