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You are browsing the archive for glaciers Archives - AGU Blogosphere.

5 August 2022

14-Ice: Glacier tourism on thin ice

Glaciers around the world are melting because of climate change. Yet, while glaciers might be smaller than they once were, that’s not stopping tourists from flocking to see them.

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20 May 2022

5-True story: A prop plane, a bucket, and a trip to Antarctica

Pacifica Sommers is an ecologist and explorer. From the deserts of Arizona to the Antarctic tundra, Pacifica has looked at how organisms from tardigrades to pocket mice live in extreme environments. We talked with her about some of the most beautiful places on Earth, the diversity of folks who can be scientists,  and what exactly that bucket is for on the flight to Antarctica.

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10 December 2021

Elephant Point and trees growing on ice

Librarian Judie Triplehorn solved the mystery of Elephant Point with a yellowed document she placed on my desk. In it, a writer for the Edinburgh Museum in Scotland in 1829 hailed the arrival of “two tusks of the Mammoth, brought home by Captain Beechey.”

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22 November 2021

Staff Picks: Toxic City Under the Ice

In 1959, the United States built an unusual military base under the surface of the Greenland ice Sheet. Camp Century was a hub for scientific research, but it also doubled as a top-secret site for testing the feasibility of deploying nuclear missiles from the Arctic. When Camp Century was decommissioned in 1967, its infrastructure and waste were abandoned under the assumption they would be forever entombed beneath the colossal sheet of ice.  

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15 July 2021

Visit to glacier begins with wildlife encounter

We heard a loud buzz. A hummingbird hovered in front of my cracker. As I held still, the hummingbird probed the peanut butter, twice, with its needle beak. The cracker transferred the vibration to my left hand, tickling my fingers. As the bird zoomed off, I looked over at Ben to confirm the experience.
“I think you have superpowers now,” he said.

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22 April 2021

Big change on a big landscape

The Alsek, a world-class rafting river that flows into the Gulf of Alaska from its headwaters in Canada, may soon abandon the lower part of its drainage for a steeper one 15 miles away. The re-route will be due to the extreme melt of Grand Plateau Glacier, which acts like a cork that prevents the Alsek from following a faster path to the sea.

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1 March 2021

Malaspina Glacier gets up and goes

Massive icefields near the Canada/Alaska border feed Malaspina ice through a slot in the mountains. Freed of mountain walls, Malaspina’s ice oozes over the coastal plain like batter on a hot griddle. Near the Gulf of Alaska about 30 miles northwest of Yakutat, the glacier is — on clear days — visible from a window seat on an Alaska Airlines flight from Southeast Alaska to Anchorage. But the dirty-white blob on the cheek of Alaska is not as large as it used to be, which is why glaciologist Martin Truffer and his colleagues are studying it.

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19 February 2021

‘Ghost forest’ got run over by a glacier

A “ghost forest” exposed as La Perouse Glacier in Southeast Alaska retreated. In the past, the glacier ran over the rainforest trees. Two people are also in the photo. Photo by Ben Gaglioti.

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6 November 2020

Goodbye to a raffish glacier scientist

Will Harrison, who knew the world’s bumpy plains of ice as well as his old neighborhood in Saint John, New Brunswick, has died. He was 84. From his arrival at the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in January 1972, the Canada-born Harrison mapped out and executed studies of glaciers from Antarctica to Greenland. He and his charges measured and reported great changes before they became obvious.

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21 August 2020

Remembering glaciologist Konrad Steffen

“I remember Steffen as a striking figure — sandy gray hair, piercing blue eyes, his face weathered by snow, wind and sun — at the podium during press conferences at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. There, Steffen spoke to reporters about Greenland’s impressive ice melt.”

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4 June 2020

A tale of glacier mice and young love

Green and spongy, glacier mice are not really rodents at all. They consist mostly of moss, and are the subject of a recent published study. Two of its authors are former Alaska graduate students, who met and fell in love in the company of the little green pincushions.

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9 April 2020

Greenland Ice Sheet meltwater can flow in winter, too

New findings published in Geophysical Research Letters underscore need for year-round investigations of Arctic hydrology.

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10 March 2020

Major Greenland glacier collapse 90 years ago linked to climate change

Ninety years ago there were no satellites to detect changes in Greenland’s coastal glaciers, but a new study combining historical photos with evidence from ocean sediments suggests climate change was already at work in the 1930s and led to a major collapse of the one of Greenland’s largest coastal glaciers.

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13 January 2020

Northern news from a massive conference

Here are a few scribbles from my notebook on a subsample of the more than 1,000 Alaska talks and posters (at the AGUFallMeeting)…

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4 December 2019

New study models impact of calving on retreat of Thwaites Glacier

A new study in the AGU journal Geophysical Research Letters modeled how much faster Thwaites, one of West Antarctica’s largest and fastest-retreating glaciers, would retreat in the absence of its ice shelf — the part of the glacier that floats on top of the sea, supporting the thicker ice behind…“Worst-case scenario, it is going to be gone in less than a century. But it may also take much longer.”

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18 November 2019

CE12 – A Nuclear Legacy Buried in Ice

Earlier this year, scientists reported that radioactive fallout from nuclear accidents and weapons testing is present in ice sediments on the surface of glaciers in the Arctic, Iceland, the Alps, the Caucasus, British Columbia and Antarctica.

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15 November 2019

Dirty glaciers all over the world

Dirty glaciers are the most understudied kind, Truffer said. Scientists have not accounted for their quirky properties in models. Those numbers are important because so many people depend on glacial melt as their water supply, including millions in India, China and Bangladesh.

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12 August 2019

Special Release: Deviations from the Norm

One of the most alluring parts of Earth and space science is that much of the key research takes place in the field, in some of the most incredible – and inhospitable – environments on the planet: on treacherous polar ice sheets, aboard sea tossed ships, at the mouths of active volcanoes, beneath turbid ocean waters, and atop the highest windswept peaks. Under these often less than ideal conditions, instruments …

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5 August 2019

Icelandic glaciologist feels a weighty responsibility

Icelanders will soon install a plaque they hope people will read, long after those who bolted it to a mountain are dead. Near a withering glacier, the sign reads: Ok (Okjökull) is the first Icelandic glacier to lose its status as a glacier.

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31 July 2019

Decades-old pollutants melting out of Himalayan glaciers

New research in AGU’s Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres finds chemicals used in pesticides that have been accumulating in glaciers and ice sheets around the world since the 1940s are being released as Himalayan glaciers melt as a result of climate change.

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