A blast from the future: Stubai Alps past and present
Posted 03 July 2012 - 21:31
Not much of a recovery evident in these images of the Rongbuk glacier. But then again it will take some time for increased snowfall to filter down into glaciers.
There is a well presented website here which photodocuments the decline in Himalayan glaciers.
Posted 04 July 2012 - 09:31
Firstly - great photos from the past - it is always nice to reflect on how things looked a few years ago.
With regard to the snow cover, or lack of it in the later photos; surely this is down to weather only and a lack of significant snow. It doesn't indicate climate change on a long term basis.
Furthermore, all glaciers are remnants from the last ice age and they will continue to melt and recede until we go into the next ice epoch. Isn't this all very obvious, or are we alluding to something else here?
Someone I know is a big skier and he holds a record for skiing on Mt Washington in every month of the year. This was back in the late 90's I think. He was able to find pockets of snow in sheltered areas to ski on, even in July and August. However, in one year those pockets weren't there because of lack of snowfall. That's not climate change - that's just a brief period of low snowfall. it soon returned and I believe he continued.
Aren't receding glaciers like ocean memory, where a continuing response occurs many years after an event?
THIS IS NOT BECAUSE OF CO2. We are coming out of an ice epoch and sooner or later we will return to one. We better start warming the planet now to offset it when it arrives coz I am pretty sure we will cope better with a few degrees of warming than we will an Ice Age.
Some scientists also believe the current warming is a sign of an impending ice epoch.
This post has been edited by Uskys: 04 July 2012 - 09:36
Posted 04 July 2012 - 10:27
Alpine glaciers have been receding since the Little Ice Age but this process does seem to have accelerated recently. Whether that is synoptic change or CO2 driven climate warming is another matter.
I understood that most glacier gain/loss was due to precipitation change? Hence the Norwegian ones gaining mass.
This post has been edited by Tim Prosser: 04 July 2012 - 10:28
Posted 04 July 2012 - 11:29
Glacier size is a balance between input (precipitation) and output (ablation). It's a bit like a bath with the taps running and the plug out. Increase the taps and more water goes in, increase the plug hole and more water goes out. Basal lubrication from surface melt water can speed up a glacier's movement, which can take ice down to the ablation zone more quickly.
Lack of snow cover can have an effect too as it lowers the albedo, something which is very noticeable in Greenland at the moment.
More details here http://www4.uwsp.edu...ss_balance.html
WGMS (based at the University of Zurich) : http://www.wgms.ch
They also have a paper about glacier changes during and since the LIA: http://www.wgms.ch/d..._PAGES_2011.pdf
The wikipedia page has some links to various national mass balance studies: https://en.wikipedia...er_mass_balance
Posted 04 July 2012 - 12:34
One needs to take such a phenomenon in the context of all the other warming indicators:
Cheers - John
Posted 04 July 2012 - 13:39
Contrary to a recent paper, I doubt Ocean Heat Content can increase much... For one, the pathway for increased SST heat is shorter radiating into space then subduction in much colder waters. The point is for Sea Surface Temperatures to fall through colder water requires a very high level of salination. The normal thermohaline subduction is that the North Atlantic Drift draws a portion of the warm SSTs Northward where it radiates out the heat. This causes a partial freezing of the surface waters, concentrating the more saline water which slowly drops through the cooler under laying waters. Then we also have the case in which we get a Barrents HP systems which stall and through a combination of clear skies, warm compressed upper level falling air mass and increased isolation increases in salinity. Though with the HP, the highly saline water is less dense then the cooler water below it even though it is more saline, though at night as it radiates out a portion of its daily heat, a portion may slip lower, eventually though the energy disapates and does not fall further.
The point is the increase in Oceanic Heat Content can occur in very isolated locations, the energy does not transport very deeply and most of the added energy, escapes out the top 200 meters to space. Even the deeper heat energy at 2-300 meters cannot fall further. The Triton deep sea buoy system clearly demonstrates this processes on a "sounding" equivalent level. The robotic drifting Argus System cannot stay on station or offer a tracing of ocean water heat plumes... Not to diminish any of the work done just the simple physics does not seem to support the proposition. Now in the case of high current speeds the heat plume can be roped out; but, again this only serves to increase he rate of disapation which again primarily mixes with either cooler Arctic/Polar waters melting ice or radiates into space.
Posted 04 July 2012 - 14:02
Concur, though I had seen portions brought up over in Real Climate, I had not reviewed this article. To a large extent I rely on real absolute measures and rarely consider model data as to me most of even the best models are a bit like virtual science, fine in the labratory; but, falls apart in the real world... Though I admit many can point out a clear direction, the variability is under accounted for, hence without parametric validation from my viewpoint they leave a bit to be desired; but, again my opinion...
Concur, if this would be of interest for discussion we generate a different thread. Oh, btw, a interesting graphic, I was glad to see the title was very mundane for a change...
Posted 03 September 2012 - 16:49
On August 19th the temperature at Jungfraujoch, Switzerland (the highest railway station in Europe) reached 12.8°C (55.0°F) the warmest temperature ever measured at this site where records began in 1937.The significance of this is that this site has been studied by European climatologists for 75 years and is considered a 'bell-weather' location because of its long POR and isolation from surrounding possible human-induced influence.
Another site on the border of Switzerland and Italy near the summit of Mt. Rosa (2nd highest mountain in the Alps after Mt. Blanc) named Capanna Regina Margherita (also known as Mt. Signalkuppe) and located at an elevation of 4554m (14,940’) registered a record temperature of 8.3°C (47.0°F) on August 20th. This surpassed its previous record high of 7.2°C (45.0°F) although records have only been kept here for about 15 years. The minimum temperature at the site that day was -0.1°C (31.8°F), also a record. This is the highest weather station in Europe. The Plateau Rosa near here is snow-free for the first time on record.
Aguille du Midi, a mountain in the Mt. Blanc massif in the French Alps, with an elevation of 3842m (12,605’) registered a high of 13.4°C (56.1°F) and low of 4.7°C (40.5°F) on August 19th, both records for the site since it was built in 1955.
It has been widely recognized (and researched) that most of Europe’s Alpine glaciers have been in retreat for the past 60 years or so. How much of this is due to solar radiation and how much to Global Climate Change remains a center of debate although it would seem that the two are related. An article in Geophysical Research Letters (Vol. 36, 2009) by M. Huss et al studied a 94-year time series of annual glacier melt at four high elevation sites in the Alps and found that the first massive melt off occurred in the late 1940s when “global shortwave radiation over the summer months was 8% above the long-term average and significantly higher than today”. Dimming of solar radiation from the 1950s until the 1980s reduced glacial melt rates. In the 1990s to the current time solar radiation has increased again but this time (since 2000) has also been accompanied by warmer summertime surface temperatures. Thus the glacial melt rates have exponentially increased in the past decade.
Posted 14 September 2012 - 17:37
The link I made in the previous post is no longer correct.(moved on to another topic). I cant re-edit my old post, but here is the correct link to that article from Christopher Burt re alpine snow melt.
Recent webcam images from the Alps, have shown that more normal service has resumed.
Images from the Grossglockner (Austria) and Radons (Swiss) Stelvio Pass (Italy) webcams 13/09/12