This October, I’m headed to Nepal to check out some work by some climate scientists and glacial researchers that I co-manage. Fun times. My recent daily readings have shifted away from urban adaptation to glacial science in the Himalayas and Andes.
This paper is an update to previous research by a scientist Dr. Walter Immerzeel. He does a major U-turn, where before his research showed that glacial rivers would shrink due to climate change. Now he is reversing, showing that climate change will in fact keep the rivers flowing.
The latest research led by Dr Walter Immerzeel, a scientist from Utrecht University in the Netherlands and visiting scientist at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Nepal, indicates that increasing rains would prevent rivers from drying up. His earlier works, published in Science in June 2010, indicated worrisome drop in the levels of the same rivers by 2050.
New results from Dr Immerzeel’s research indicate that water levels of the rivers will not drop over the next century due to an increase in monsoon rains in the region. However, climate change will result in smaller glaciers and less meltwater in the Himalayas. The research shows that although the size of the glaciers in the basins of the Indus and the Ganges will decrease in the 21st century, water discharge will however increase.
Science struggled to explain fully why an ice age occurs every 100,000 years. As researchers now demonstrate based on a computer simulation, not only do variations in insolation play a key role, but also the mutual influence of glaciated continents and climate.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration climate study puts 2012 among the 10 warmest years on record
Last year was among the 10 warmest years on record – ranking eighth or ninth depending on the data set, according to a report led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa). The year 2012 also saw record greenhouse gas emissions, with concentrations of carbon dioxide and other warming gasses reaching a global average of 392.7 parts per million for the year.
"The findings are striking," Kathryn Sullivan, Noaa’s acting administrator, said on a conference call. "Our planet as a whole is becoming a warmer place."
The scientists were reluctant to point directly to the cause of the striking changes in the climate. But the annual reports are typically used by the federal government to prepare for the future, and in June president Barack Obama used his climate address to direct government agencies to begin planning for decades of warming atmosphere and rising seas.
The biggest changes in the climate in 2012 were in the Arctic and in Greenland, said the report, which is an annual exercise by a team of American and British scientists. The Arctic warmed at about twice the rate of lower latitudes, the report found. By June 2012, snow cover had fallen to its lowest levels since the record began. By September 2012, sea-ice cover had retreated to its lowest levels since the beginning of satellite records, falling to 1.32 million square miles.
I’m headed to Nepal this November to meet our climate scientists. Click through to check out the program’s work. The scientists are installing remote sensing equipment to monitor glacial melt, conducting LiDAR (GPR) surveys, and helping train sherpas and others on how to deal climate impacts in the Himalayas. We’re also co-funding a trash and sanitation clean up on Everest. Fun stuff. A bit worried I won’t be in shape to make the basecamp climbs…