glacier recession

Water resources

Mountains around the world provide water for downstream communities. Glaciers and snowpacks store the water, and release it in dry seasons as the snow and ice melts. Glaciers are therefore a water resource, but this water resource is threatened by glacier recession. Water is essential for life on Earth. Human societies use water to irrigate …

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The world’s mountain ‘water towers’ are melting, putting 1.9 billion people at risk

Bethan Davies, Royal Holloway The year 2019 concludes a decade of exceptional heat, and is on track to be the second or third warmest year on record. While the global average temperature teeters on 1.1°C above the pre-industrial record, the world’s glaciers are in stark retreat. In high mountain areas, the steady trickle of melting …

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Glaciers as a water resource

Mountains as Water Towers of the World In many mountainous parts of the world with a seasonal rainfall, glaciers are a reliable water resource in the dry season. Mountains could be called the “Water Towers of the World”1, providing water from glacier melt and orographic rainfall to lowland regions.  Glacierised drainage basins cover 26% of …

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Antarctic Peninsula has strong sensitivity to surface warming

The Antarctic Peninsula is warming very rapidly, about six times the global average[1-3]. There has been a 95% increase in positive degree day sums since 1948[4]. Glaciers in the region are accelerating, in response to frontal thinning and recession[5]. In addition, ice shelves are collapsing[6], glacier fronts are retreating[7]. The causes for much of these …

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Global glacier recession

Worldwide, glaciers are shrinking and receding. In fact, glacier recession and thermal expansion of the ocean together account for 75% of today’s observed sea level rise. Glaciers are small and have short response times, so they react quickly to changes in air temperature and precipitation. Glaciers around the Antarctic Peninsula are shrinking particularly rapidly, and …

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Glaciers and Climate

This section of the website highlights how glaciers interact with climate, and how changing climate is changing glaciers around the world today. Globally, glaciers are receding and shrinking in response to atmospheric warming. The signal is remarkably consistent across different continents and mountain ranges. 99% of Antarctica is ice-covered, and so most of the glaciers …

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Glacier change in Antarctica

Introduction | Temperatures are rising | Ice shelves are collapsing | Glaciers are shrinking | Glaciers are thinning | Glaciers are accelerating | Sea level is rising | Impact of climate on glaciers | References | Comments | Introduction What is happening around the Antarctic Peninsula? This is a region of very rapid warming, and …

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Shrinking Patagonian Glaciers

This webpage is a shortened and simplified version of the Davies and Glasser 2012 paper published in Journal of Glaciology. Introduction | Results | Glacier Change | Conclusions | References | Comments | Introduction The Little Ice Age The Little Ice Age (LIA) is widely recognised in places like the Alps in the northern hemisphere, …

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