Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Small Glaciers in Northern California Buck Global Warming Trend

09.05.2005


While glaciers around the world are shrinking and disappearing, presumably due to global warming, two small glaciers in the Trinity Alps of Northern California are holding their own.



Richard Heermance, a doctoral student in geological sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara, presented findings of his research on the glaciers at the western meeting of the Geological Society of America in San Jose last weekend.

Heermance first became familiar with the Trinity Alps in the Klamath Mountain Range while visiting there with his family when he was growing up. Recently, as a UCSB graduate student, he looked into the history of the Trinity glaciers and found that there were only two published accounts of them, one in 1903 and the other in 1960. He also found some aerial photos taken in 1955. "First of all, it’s surprising that these glaciers still exist because they are located below 9,000 feet," said Heermance. "Most California glaciers are located above 10,000 feet. And the glaciers in the Sierra Nevada have clearly receded over the past 50 years."


Yet the Trinity glaciers and those on Mt. Shasta show minimal shrinkage. The hypothesis of Heermance and his colleague Richard Briggs, a post-doctoral fellow at Caltech, is that these glaciers are being sustained due to higher precipitation. The increase in temperature attributed to global warming, say the geologists, is offset by the increased precipitation. Globally temperature has increased 1 to 2 degrees Farenheit since 1970. "We would have assumed the same reaction to global warming that exists in most places—that these glaciers would have disappeared," said Heermance.

For example, Heermance cites recent reports published in the journal Science within the last 3 months indicating that global warming has caused the majority of glacier fronts worldwide to retreat over the last 50 years. But the Trinity glaciers and glaciers on Mt. Shasta are holding their own, only shrinking a small amount, and certain glaciers in Alaska are growing, notes Heermance. "This anomalous reaction of the Trinity glaciers, and others, to large-scale warming trends underscores the importance of understanding the big picture," said Heermance. "Any individual site can show behavior contrary to the average, that of most glaciers receding globally. The Trinity glaciers can provide insight into the variability of responses of glaciers to global warming."

Heermance explained that overall changes due to global warming include changes in global air circulation patterns. "In general, warmer climates are linked to higher precipitation," said Heermance. "In some places, the precipitation increases lead to increased snowfall that balances the warmer temperatures, so that glaciers can maintain their position or even advance. "On the average, the whole West is heating up," said Heermance.

The researchers plan to look more closely at the Trinity glaciers and examine their glacial moraines—the debris pushed up in front of the glaciers. This will help them to determine the age of recent advances in these glaciers, and will yield information on the interaction between climate and the glaciers over the last 10,000 years.

Gail Gallessich | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ia.ucsb.edu

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Geophysicists and atmospheric scientists partner to track typhoons' seismic footprints
16.02.2018 | Princeton University

nachricht NASA finds strongest storms in weakening Tropical Cyclone Sanba
15.02.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

Im Focus: Autonomous 3D scanner supports individual manufacturing processes

Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).

Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fingerprints of quantum entanglement

16.02.2018 | Information Technology

'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers

16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm

16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>