Search Results for Tag: ice
Melting glaciers causing major problems in Peru
There is an interesting – if worrying – story on the Global Ideas website about the rapid melting of the country’s glaciers and problems being caused by climate change. Peru is regarded as being highly vulnerable to climate change.
DateFebruary 23, 2011 | 3:32 pm
Arctic Tipping Points
The auditorium here in Tromsö is packed full for the start of Arctic Frontiers. This is the fifth of these conferences and it attracts a lot of international attention. I asked a Norwegian newspaper colleague if it was likely to get a lot of attention in the national press. He says: sadly, no. He thinks there has been so much talk about climate change opening up new shipping routes, access to oil, gas and minerals that people have lost interest now that is actually happening. Overkill? Return to business as usual? Of course that’s just one person’s opinion, but this seems to be a general problem with the climate change topic.. Anyway here in the packed hall with almost a thousand participants registered for the course of this week, we certainly can’t complain about a lack of interest. And I hear a lot of Russian voices. There is a lot of talk of increasing cooperation between Norway and Russia (and they did settle a long-standing dispute about Arctic borders last year).
Jonas Gahr Store is Norway\’s foreign minister. Last night he opened an exhibition on polar explorers. This morning he opened the Arctic Frontiers conference with a speech entitled “State of the Arctic – Challenges ahead”.
It was a good summary of the current situation. He started with a reference to famous polar explorers, the Norwegians Fridtjof Nansen und Roald Amundsen, and the Russian Mikhail Lomonossov, all of whom are being commemorated as part of various anniversary ceremonies this year. He says humanity today faces a challenge in some ways similar, but as a collective challenge. Like the great explorers, we have to seize the moment, he said. He made it quite clear the Arctic climate is changing fast – and faster than anticipated – and quoted figures on temperature and sea ice decline, which make the region today very different from it was in the days of those polar explorers. Amundsen was the first to sail the North-East and the North-West passages, in 196 and 1920. Last year, modern „explorers“ sailed both within a few weeks.
Store says he is „deeply worried. The conference title is Arctic Tipping Points and that is being interpreted in various different ways at this Tromsö meeting. For the scientists, it refers to the climate. More about that in later sessions. It can also be a tipping point in terms of relations between different countries – those with Arctic territory and others, showing an increasing interest in the oil, gas and mineral resources of the Arctic, and, of course, the shipping routes.
If I try to put Store’s remarks into a nutshell: He stresses the need for international cooperation both with regard to the Arctic and reducing emissions. He admits a paradox between his country’s interests in coal, oil and gas, which, in turn, drive further climate change. But he says opting out of all that alone would not solve the problem. He says Norway will keep working for more renewables, capture carbon and storage and international agreements. He’s optimistic there will soon be a practicable „polar code“ for shipping
in the „harsh and environmentally challenging“ waters of the northern Arctic. (The BP-Russian agreement is creating some concern amongst people I’ve talked to here). He also looks forward to a legally binding search and rescue agreement, which he hopes will be signed in May in Greenland.
Of course sustainability is a buzzword here as elsewhere.
And with reference to possible security conflicts in the race to exploit resources,“low tension in the high north“ is the motto given by the Norwegian foreign minister.
Let me stop at that and listen to some more.
DateJanuary 24, 2011 | 7:58 am
Alarming news on Greenland ice sheet
I was just preparing material for my trip to the Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromso this coming weekend when a press release came in headlined “new melt record for Greenland ice sheet”.
A study sponsored by WWF Arctic, the US National Science Foundation and NASA has been examining surface temperature anomalies over the Greenland ice sheet surface and estimates of surface melting from satellite data, observations on the ground and models. Dr Marco Tedesco, Director of the CryosphereProcesses Laboratory at the City College of New York , is quoted as saying the past melt season was exceptional, “with melting in some areas stretching up to 50 days longer than average”. It seems melting in 2010 started exceptionally early – at the end of April – and ended quite late in mid-September, says Tedesco. Amongst the other results of an article just published by Tedesco and others in Environmental Research Letters are that summer temperatures were up to 3 degrees C above the average in 2010, combined with reduced snowfall. Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, “had the warmest spring and summer since records began in 1873″.
The study indicates that bare ice was exposed earlier than the average and longer than previous years.
“Bare ice is much darker than snow and absorbs more solar radiation”, says Tedesco. “This means the old ice is warming, melting, and running off into the sea”.
Melting of the Greenland ice sheet is expected to be a major contributor to projected sea level rises in the future.
WWF’s climate specialist Dr. Martin Sommerkorn said sea level rise was expected to top one metre by 2100, largely because of melting from ice sheets.
All of this does not surprise me. I am intrigued to hear what the Arctic specialists will have to report at the Arctic Frontiers meeting – and what the politicians attending the political part of the forum will have to say.
DateJanuary 20, 2011 | 3:19 pm
Climate change in pictures while you wait…
Alaska and south America are the regions where the glaciers are currently melting fastest, according to a report released in Cancun. I experienced that first-hand in Alaska in 2008, when I started the ice blog.
This is one of the pictures taken from the Begich Boggs glacier visitors centre. There’s a visiting centre purpose built to see the Portage glacier – but where the glacier has retreated so far it’s no longer visible from this point at all.In 2008, we were told it had receded more than 2 miles in 70 years.
On the last official day of Cancun, the wrangling is still going on – same procedure as every year? A freelance colleague dropped in just now . “There doesn’t seem to be anything happening in Cancun”.. he said. Yeah, that seems to be the feeling. My colleague Nathan Witkop from the Living Planet programme is there. You might like to read
his latest summary while you’re waiting.
I’ve also been keeping an eye on the Global Ideas blog You might enjoy a look at that.
And if you are interested in watching some more pictures and video and reading/hearing from some researchers in the field, have a look at these pictures from Lars Hansen who took some great shots at the Zackenberg Monitoring Station in Greenland.
That will all help pass the time waiting for the Cancun closer…
DateDecember 10, 2010 | 2:31 pm
Pre-Cancun ice blog from the banks of the Rhine
This is the icy view from my office at Deutsche Welle on the banks of the Rhine this afternoon. It’s the ice blogger’s favourite weather, although most people around me are complaining it’s too early for snow and asking if it’s got anything to do with climate change.
Meanwhile, in spite of the fact that so many of us have been saying there will be less hype surrounding and attention paid to the Cancun climate talks starting in Mexico on Monday, I’m pleased to say there is still a fair bit of reporting going on. What we saw ahead of Copenhagen was really hype, verging on a kind of Copenhagen-mania at times, and it clearly didn’t help the cause of getting a new global climate agreement at all. But it would be worrying if the media and the public in general just ignored the talks.
Mind you, most people seem to be saying more or less the same thing: Forget the idea of a big breakthrough and just go for a step-by-step pragmatic approach. As one commentator on German radio put it this morning, people (especially those who will be negotiating) seem to be talking Cancun down. That doesn’t mean they don’t think it’s important, but it’s a clear warning that this time, we shouldn’t expect too much. We can still set our sights high, though, can’t we?
As EU climate action commissioner Connie Hedegaard puts it (and she should know, since as Danish climate and energy minister she was a key figure in the Copenhagen conference) “the sense of urgency should not be any less than prior to Copenhagen.”. After all, she told me, given that we’ve seen the hottest 12 months in a row on record, “the chance remains with us. We have to address it. And for each year we postpone action, the more expensive and the more difficult its going to be in the end”. I couldn’t agree with you more, Commissioner. Let\’s hope you and the others round the negotiating table(s) in Cancun will turn that into money on the table for adaptation and forest protection, and ambitious emissions reductions targets.
More on the EU’s stance to let you decide whether it’s good enough on this week’s Living Planet programme. You might also like to read this Interview with EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard, in which she outlines her expectations for the climate conference in Mexico.
DateNovember 26, 2010 | 2:47 pm