Global warming: Central Asian glaciers dwindling fast

Ice loss has huge implications for regional water resources

North facing slope of the Jetim-Bel range, Kyrgyzstan. Glacier melt is an essential water resource in an otherwise dry environment.

North facing slope of the Jetim-Bel range, Kyrgyzstan. Glacier melt is an essential water resource in an otherwise dry environment. Photo courtesy Daniel Farinotti.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Glaciers in the Tien Shan, Central Asia’s largest mountain range, have lost 27 percent of their mass and 18 percent of their area during the last 50 years, shedding an average of 5.4 gigatons of ice per year.

By 2050 about half of Tien Shan’s glacier volume could be depleted, a team of scientists estimated in a new paper published in the current online issue of Nature Geoscience.

The study was led by scientists with the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences and the institute of the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique at Rennes University. Continue reading

Climate: Alaska glaciers a big factor in sea level rise

Photograph of the calving terminus of Tyndall Glacier, located at the head of Taan Fiord, Icy Bay, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska. Photo courtesy USGS.

Photograph of the calving terminus of Tyndall Glacier, located at the head of Taan Fiord, Icy Bay, Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, Alaska. Photo courtesy USGS.

New study helps quantify glacial meltdown

Staff Report

FRISCO — Global warming is melting Alaska’s glaciers so fast that the water would cover the entire state a foot deep every seven years, scientists report in a new study. The melting won’t slow down anytime soon and will be a major factor in global sea level rise, the researchers said.

“The Alaska region has long been considered a primary player in the global sea level budget, but the exact details on the drivers and mechanisms of Alaska glacier change have been stubbornly elusive,” said Chris Larsen, a research associate professor with the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Continue reading

Global warming: Bhutan’s glaciers at risk

Graduate student Josh Maurer and professor Summer Rupper on a glacier  near Rinchen Zoe La, Bhutan. Photo courtesy Brigham Young University.

Snowfall rates would need to double to slow glacial retreat

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — After significant warming during half century, about 10 percent of Bhutan’s glaciers are likely to disappear within the next few decades — even if regional and global temperatures were to stabilize at current levels.

“These particular glaciers have seen so much warming in the past few decades that they’re currently playing lots of catch up,” Brigham Young University geology professor Summer Rupper said after studying climate and glaciers in the Himalaya.

Rupper’s most conservative findings the amount of melt water coming off these glaciers could drop by 30 percent. Increasing temperatures are just one culprit behind glacier retreat. A number of climate factors such as wind, humidity, precipitation and evaporation can affect how glaciers behave. With some Bhutanese glaciers as long as 13 miles, an imbalance in any of these areas can take them decades to completely respond. Continue reading

Climate: High latitude dust storms increasing

A NASA satellite image shows dust blowing off the north coast of Iceland.

Study shows more glacial dust as a result of global warming

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Cold-climate, high-latitude dust storms could become more frequent as the world grows warmer, creating yet another complex climate feedback loop.

Research on Iceland led by the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science shows that large dust storms is both accelerating glacial melting and contributing important nutrients to the surrounding North Atlantic Ocean. Continue reading

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