Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Climate Change: Water Reservoir Glacier

09.11.2010
Glaciers of large mountain regions contribute, to some extent considerably, to the water supply of certain populated areas. However, in a recent study conducted by Innsbruck glaciologists and climatologists it has been shown that there are important regional differences. The results of the study are published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

In their recently published study the glaciologists and climatologists, headed by Prof. Georg Kaser and Dr. Ben Marzeion from the Institute of Geography of the University of Innsbruck, have demonstrated that the contribution potential of glaciers to the water supply of populated areas varies regionally.

The scientists gathered data on the amount of precipitation on certain glaciers and calculated when the water is discharged and available in populated areas. “There is a big difference in whether the water is discharged in an arid period or in a period, when there usually is a lot of precipitation, e.g. in monsoon regions in Asia,“ explains Ben Marzeion.

“And there are regions, for instance around the Aral Sea, where precipitation happens in the mountain regions in winter. The glacier melt water runoff in summer is vital for the population living in this area.“ The Innsbruck researchers modeled estimates that show human dependence on glacier melt in a certain region. They demonstrate that high-mountain communities are highly dependent on glacier melt water but the population density is usually relatively low in these regions. “The impact is a lot more dramatic in mid latitude river basins, where the population density is a lot higher and glacier melt still contributes to the available water reservoir to a large extent,“ the climatologists explain.

Regional differences

The incentive of the study was the widespread discussion about the impact of climate change on water availability in highly populated regions. “In the last few years numbers have been named that do not pass a closer examination,“ says glaciologist and climatologist Georg Kaser. “It is an exaggeration when it is claimed that the melting of glaciers endangers the water supply of 2 billion people.” With their study the Innsbruck scientists want to draw attention to the considerable regional differences regarding the problem of future water supply. “By all means, the expected climatic development may have detrimental effects for smaller high-mountain communities.“

The data for the study was obtained from the World Glacier Inventory, global temperature and precipitation data and the Global Digital Elevation Model. The researchers investigated the whole river basin region of certain glaciers in the Himalayas, the Andes, the Caucasus Mountains, Siberia, North America and New Zealand. “In principle, this is a simple research approach, which, nevertheless, provides us with important arguments for a more differentiated discussion in climate research,“ says Georg Kaser, who is pleased about the results of the study, which has been published in the renowned scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). “With regard to the next report issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), our data can be seen as the basis for regionally more precise estimations and they show that the impact of the expected climate change may be higher in some regions than in others,” says Kaiser.

Dr. Ben Marzeion
Institute of Geography
University of Innsbruck
Innrain 52, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
Phone: +43 512 507-5404
Email: ben.marzeion@uibk.ac.at
Weitere Informationen:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1008162107 - Contribution potential of glaciers to water availability in different climate regimes. Georg Kaser, Martin Großhauser und Ben Marzeion. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2010. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1008162107

Dr. Christian Flatz | idw
Further information:
http://www.marzeion.info
http://www.uibk.ac.at

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

nachricht Disarray in the brain
18.12.2017 | Universität zu Lübeck

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Thanks for the memory: NIST takes a deep look at memristors

22.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

Radioactivity from oil and gas wastewater persists in Pennsylvania stream sediments

22.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Saarland University bioinformaticians compute gene sequences inherited from each parent

22.01.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks Wissenschaft & Forschung
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>