Climate Adaptation

CLIMATE ADAPTATION

I want to punch climate change in the face. A blog about the interactions between the built environment, people, and nature.


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Message in a bottle found 54 years later in Arctic

“To Whom it May Concern: This and a similar cairn 21.3 feet to the west were set on July 10, 1959. The distance from this cairn to the glacier edge about four feet from the rock floor is 168.3 feet.

"Anyone venturing this way is requested to remeasure this distance and send the information to: Paul T. Walker, Department of Geology, The Ohio State University, Columbus 10, Ohio, USA and Mr. Albert P. Crary, Air Force Cambridge Research Center, 11 Leon St., Boston 15, Mass. USA. Thank you very much.”

Note to future scientists to measure the distance of a glacier to determine if was advancing or retreating. We all know the answer, but by how many feet?

“ Iceland’s 300+ glaciers losing 11 billion tons of ice a year. Several have already melted away, and many more will disappear in the next decade. ”

—    Above, one of Iceland’s longest bridges now stands over dry land. Via Daily Climate.

This is Ulyana Horodyskyj, a PhD geologist student we funded through USAID’s Climber Scientist program, which I happen to co-manage. She works in the high mountain regions of Nepal and Peru, and measures how fast glaciers melt. Here she shows how icicles bend under pressure. You many have heard of Ulyana earlier this year when her cameras and equipment were stolen in the Himalayas.

2006 & 2012 Columbia Glacier, Columbia Bay, Alaska 2006 & 2012 Stein Glacier, Switzerland2009 & 2012 Bridge Glacier, British Columbia

awkwardsituationist:

Founded in 2007 by James Balog, the Extreme Ice Survey (eis) is an innovative, long-term photography project documenting climate change with 28 cameras deployed at 13 glaciers throughout the world.

Each camera takes about 8000 photos a year, which are edited into stunning time lapse videos that reveal the pace and effects of climate change. Balog and EIS were the focus of the 2012 documentary, Chasing Ice.

1. Columbia Glacier, Columbia Bay, Alaska - 2006 and 2012. The glacier has lost two miles of ice in six years, and the rate of its retreat is accelerating. since 1980 it has diminished vertically an amount equal to the height of New York’s Empire State Building, and has retreated 13 miles.

2. Stein Glacier, Switzerland - 2006 and 2012. If the trend of hotter and drier summers persists in the high country, many alpine glaciers could lose as much as 75 percent of their bulk by century’s end or even vanish, imperiling the region’s water supply.

3. Bridge Glacier, British Columbia - 2009 and 2012. Retreating roughly five feet a day during melt season, the 10.5 mile Bridge Glacier suffers both lower snowfall in winter and hotter temperatures in summer.

I’m in Nepal for UN and USAID meetings. We’re working to prevent a special type of natural disaster from occurring, called a Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF).

A very large glacier melted near Mt. Everest and turned into a mile long lake (Imja Lake). The lake is in danger of bursting, threatening thousands of lives downstream. I co-manage some scientists here (and in Peru) and we’re advising the UN and the Nepalese government how to manage this dangerous situation.

Climate change is causing thousands of ancient glaciers around the world to melt. When they melt, they either disappear via a river, or form a a big lake. Some lakes are very dangerous, and GLOFs threaten downstream communities and cities. The solution we provide here in Nepal will - hopefully - be used as a model by other countries to prevent these types of floods.

Anyway, I will be blogging again very soon! Meanwhile, here are some pictures from Pokhara, Kathmandu, and surrounds. 

darksilenceinsuburbia:

Matt Jones. Lakes of Gokyo, Khumbu valley, Nepal.

I’m headed here in a few weeks. Also Seti river valley near Pokhara to visit some climate scientists whose contract I’m managing.

Trip to Nepal

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.

Noaa report says Arctic sea ice is disappearing at unprecedented pace
One of the adaptation projects I'm working on: High Mountain Glacial Watershed Program

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…

Scoresby Sound, Greenland. Longest fjord in the world. Note the glacial outfall to the right. Click to embiggen.

awkwardsituationist:

The Blomstrandbreen glacier, located in the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, has retreated nearly two kilometers since 1928, the year the black and white photos were taken.

The rate of glacial retreat has accelerated to 35 metres (114 feet) per year since 1960, and even faster in the last decade.

Black and white photos courtesy the Norwegian Polar Institute, color photos Christian Aslund for Greenpeace.