Glacier regression in the tropical Andes has accelerated considerably over the past 30 years. This change is cause for great concern, insofar as many regions of the Andes depend on the Cordillera’s glaciers for their water supply (2).
In 1991 scientists from the IRD research unit Great Ice (UR032) set up an observation network, jointly with their Bolivian, Peruvian and Ecuadorian partners. This system takes in a dozen glaciers along the Andes between the Equator and longitude 16°S (Bolivia). In contrast to the Alpine glaciers which undergo a long accumulation period in winter and a short ablation season in summer, the glaciers of the tropical Andes experience an ablation regime in their lower part throughout the year, with a maximum during the Southern summer (October to April) in Bolivia and Peru. That is the season when the strongest insolation coincides with the maximum rainfall. The glaciers, which react strongly to oscillations in these two parameters and are therefore highly sensitive indicators of climate changes. The scientists focused on two representative glaciers from among those scattered over the Cordillera: Antizana (5760-4800 m) in Ecuador and Chacaltaya (5375-5125 m) in the North of Bolivia.
The glacier mass balance, which is an estimate of the difference between the accumulation of snow and ice and their ablation by melting and sublimation, appears to be strongly controlled by the ENSO (El Niño-Southern Oscillation). During the latter’s warm phases (El Niño), the balances are always negative. In the course of a year, the glaciers lose the equivalent of a sheet of water of 600 to 1200 mm. In the cooler and more humid La Niña phase, however, the glaciers return to equilibrium and sometimes show a small increase which temporarily checks their decline.
Marie Guillaume | alfa
Predicting unpredictability: Information theory offers new way to read ice cores
07.12.2016 | Santa Fe Institute
Sea ice hit record lows in November
07.12.2016 | University of Colorado at Boulder
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine
07.12.2016 | Life Sciences
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine