Study: Future of western glaciers is grim

Study: Future of western glaciers is grim

SOURCE: K5 News Seattle DATE: October 8, 2019 SNIP: The glaciers of the Olympic Mountains and Cascades are not only breath-taking to look at, they’re also critical to our environment as we know it. “Melting glaciers feed high alpine streams and ecosystems, and supply water for agriculture,” explained Andrew Fountain, a glaciologist at Portland State University. There’s about 5,000 glaciers in the Western U.S. and according to Fountain they are all disappearing. “Yeah, it’s going to be a different world.” For more than a decade, Fountain and researchers from across the west have studied the thousands of glaciers. Most recently, they looked at the ones in Washington’s Olympic National Park. “We use satellites that photograph the earth as well as aerial photographs,” explained Fountain. “From that we can track how glaciers are growing or shrinking.” And they found they are all shrinking. Take for example the Lillian Glacier. In 1905, the glacier was expansive. But an aerial photo taken in 2010 showed the glacier is nearly gone. “With business as usual, the glaciers will disappear probably by 2070, 2080,” said Fountain. And the result of all that ice melt? “We won’t have those glaciers replenishing our water supply during the late summer when we don’t have any rain, so those streams will be more subject to...

2019 Annual Assessment of North Cascades Glaciers Finds ‘Shocking Loss’ of Volume

SOURCE: Glacier Hub DATE: September 10, 2019 SNIP: The summer of 2019 found the North Cascade Glacier Climate Project in the field for the 36th consecutive summer monitoring the response of North Cascade glaciers to climate change. This long term monitoring program was initiated partly in response to a challenge in 1983 from Stephen Schneider to begin monitoring glacier systems before and as climate change became a dominant variable in their behavior. The field team was comprised of Clara Deck, Ann Hill, Abby Hudak, Jill Pelto, and myself. All of us have worked on other glaciers. The bottom line for 2019 is the shocking loss of glacier volume. Ann Hill, University of Maine graduate student observed, “Despite having experience studying glaciers in southeast Alaska and in Svalbard, I was shocked by the amount of thinning each glacier has endured through the last two and a half...
New Zealand glaciers won’t survive this century, scientists say

New Zealand glaciers won’t survive this century, scientists say

SOURCE: Stuff DATE: August 20, 2019 SNIP: Visitors to the Franz Josef glacier are noticing changes – it’s melting away and it’s not the only one. Victoria University of Wellington PHD Student Lauren Vargo said when surveys started in the late 1970s, New Zealand had more than 3000 glaciers. “From now on, we’ll see more disappear each year,” she said. “There are a couple that were quite decent sized glaciers when the surveys began, and they are essentially no longer glaciers and wouldn’t fit the definition of a glacier.” Most New Zealand glaciers have been rapidly declining since 2011. Both Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier are no longer accessible by foot due to their retreat. Vargo said how long glaciers would survive climate change depended on their location and size. A recent and unpublished study has found New Zealand’s glacier areas reduced about 31 per cent from the late 1970s to 2016, Vargo said. This year it was found earth’s glaciers are melting much faster than scientists thought – five times faster now than they were in the 1960s. Niwa climate applications principal scientist Andrew Lorrey said if nothing changed globally, temperatures would continue to rise and the glaciers would continue to diminish. “Looking at these glaciers and how sensitive they are, I don’t see many of them surviving past the next century to be...
Alaskan glaciers melting 100 times faster than previously thought

Alaskan glaciers melting 100 times faster than previously thought

SOURCE: National Geographic DATE: July 25, 2019 SNIP: A new way of measuring how some glaciers melt below the surface of the water has uncovered a surprising realization: Some glaciers are melting a hundred times faster than scientists thought they were. In a new study published today in Science, a team of oceanographers and glaciologists unpeeled a new layer of understanding of tidewater glaciers—glaciers that end in the ocean—and their dynamic processes. “They’ve really discovered that the melt that’s happening is fairly dramatically different from some of the assumptions we’ve had,” says Twila Moon, a glaciologist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado-Boulder who was uninvolved with the study. Some of this calving and glacial melt is a normal process that glaciers undergo during seasonal transitions from winter to summer, and even through the summer. But a warming climate accelerates glacier melting across the globe, potentially through melting across the surface of the glacier, but also through underwater melting. Glaciers can extend hundreds of feet below the surface, explained Ellyn Enderlin, a glaciologist at Boise State University who was not involved with the study. Finding higher rates of submarine melting tells us that “glaciers are a lot more sensitive to ocean change than we’ve even thought.” Understanding the melting processes and calculating the amount of melt accurately is essential for planning for sea level...
Glacier in Russian Arctic Goes From Moving 60 Feet a Year to 60 Feet a Day

Glacier in Russian Arctic Goes From Moving 60 Feet a Year to 60 Feet a Day

SOURCE: Weather.com and NASA DATE: April 8, 2019 SNIP: Satellite images of dramatic changes in a glacier in the Russian High Arctic is forcing scientists to rethink how cold-based glaciers work. Cold-based glaciers exist at high latitudes that receive little snow or rain. They rarely move more than a few yards per year. University of Colorado Boulder glaciologist Michael Willis was studying the Vavilov Ice Cap on October Revolution Island in the Kara Sea north of Siberia when he discovered the glacier began sliding dozens of times faster than is typical, according to a blog post from NASA. “The fact that an apparently stable, cold-based glacier suddenly went from moving 20 meters per year to 20 meters per day was extremely unusual, perhaps unprecedented,” Willis said. “The numbers here are simply nuts. Before this happened, as far as I knew, cold-based glaciers simply didn’t do that … couldn’t do that.” “This event has forced us to rethink how cold-based glaciers work,” Willis said. “It may be that they can respond more quickly to warming climate or changes at their bases than we have...