CR
Cryospheric Sciences

climate change

Will the ice break out? – a story from the farthest north ice trails

Man on snow machine looks bake to the canoe he is towing across ice.

"For over two decades, the sea ice group at the University of Alaska has worked with the community of Utqiaġvik, establishing an integrated observing network. This network includes local observations, a coastal radar system to monitor ice conditions, an in-situ mass balance site monitoring environmental change such as ice growth and snow cover, and the mapping of community sea ice trails." In thi ...[Read More]

Climate change and the Cryosphere – With ice we are also losing a piece of our cultural heritage: a glaciologist’s perspective

Climate change and the Cryosphere – With ice we are also losing a piece of our cultural heritage: a glaciologist’s perspective

Glaciers are shrinking and disappearing in many regions of the Earth. Did you know? I am joking of course. We are flooded with news talking about this. The decline of glaciers has manifold and severe consequences and is one of the most powerful icons of climate change. Here I want to talk a little bit about one of the less talked about impact of glacier decline: the loss of culture and knowledge r ...[Read More]

Let’s go to School of Sustainability!

Let’s go to School of Sustainability!

Next generations will not only see impacts of climate change first-hand, but they will also deal with the associated societal implications. Implementing climate solutions and orienting themselves in a growing, green job market need cutting-edge knowledge, which is often hard to get through the ordinary, high-school syllabus. As early-career cryo-scientists (Federica is a PhD student in glacial geo ...[Read More]

Did you know about Artificial Glaciers?

Did you know about Artificial Glaciers?

There are several ways that we can classify glaciers. We can look at their shape, their size, their type of terminus, and many other features. A new characteristic has recently been gaining in popularity: artificiality. Yes, we now have a few artificial glaciers! Have you ever heard about them? They are glaciers whose behavior is directly influenced by human interventions in order to improve their ...[Read More]

The softness of ice, how we measure it, and why it matters for sea level rise

The softness of ice, how we measure it, and why it matters for sea level rise

One of the first things school children learn is that ice is a solid, and forms by freezing water. Most people think of ice as brittle–have you ever dropped a slippery ice cube on the kitchen floor, and watch it break and shatter into many pieces? It may be surprising, then, to find that ice can also stretch and squeeze, like a ball of pizza dough! Once deformed, ice is then softer in certai ...[Read More]

On snowmelt, water security, and a warming climate – Why solution-oriented research matters, now more than ever

1 April 2015: for the first time on record, the chief of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys, Frank Gehrke, had no snow to measure at the Phillips Snow Course near Lake Tahoe at the end of the winter. This was in some ways unsurprising, as California had been in a drought since 2012. But drought was nothing new in the state, and this was the first time on record that snow was completely absent ...[Read More]

Climate Change and Cryosphere – What can we learn from the smallest, most vulnerable glaciers in the Ötztal Alps?

The Alps were the first mountains to be studied from a glaciological point of view in the 19th century and they host some of the most studied glaciers of Earth. Some of them are found in the Central Alps and in particular, the Ötztal Alps. Just to cite the most known and largest glaciers in this Alpine sector, we can mention Hintereisferner or Vernagtferner. But in the Ötztal Alps you can also fin ...[Read More]

Did you know that glacier mass loss affects water resources?

The picture above shows a typical Kyrgyz summer yurt camp, located in the valley of Altyn-Arashan, Kyrgyzstan. The stream you see flowing through comes from the glacier-fed lake of Ala-Kul, the gorgeous turquoise water featured below. The families who live there during summer have done so for generations, and travel up with their herds of horses and cows. The stream provides the water they need fo ...[Read More]

Time To Reflect

Albedo or albedon’t? One possible solution to global warming is to turn everything white to increase the planet’s albedo, i.e. how reflective it is (see, for example, this website). A higher albedo would be one way to reduce global warming, by reducing the amount of incoming shortwave solar radiation absorbed by the planet’s surface, which is then re-emitted as longwave radiation that ...[Read More]

The physical and social changes facing the mountainous populations of the Karakoram Range

The physical and social changes facing the mountainous populations of the Karakoram Range

As a child, Shakir remembers long extreme winters with heavy snowfall and dry blistering winds, where it was hard to play outside. He grew up in a village named Gulmit, located at an elevation of 2500 m, surrounded by the high snow caped mountains in the Karakoram Range in northern Pakistan. That was 30 years ago, when climate change was still not a cause of concern for the local people. Today, in ...[Read More]