Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The glaciers in the Pyrenees will disappear in less than 50 years

08.09.2008
Much has been said about the situation of the glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica, but little is known about those in the high mountain areas of the Iberian Peninsular. A Spanish research study has revealed, for the first time, that now only the Pyrenees has active glaciers. Furthermore, the steady increase in temperature, a total of 0.9°C since 1890, indicates that Pyrenean glaciers will disappear before 2050, according to experts.

Researchers from the University of Cantabria, the Autonomous University of Madrid and Valladolid have produced a summary on the current situation of the Pyrenees, Sierra Nevada and Picos de Europa. Scientists have based their work on how climate change has affected the glaciers since the so-called Little Ice Age (from 1300 to 1860) to conclude that only the Pyrenees has active glaciers left.

“High mountains are particularly sensitive areas to climate and environmental changes, and how glaciers evolve there in response to climate change is one of the most effective indicators of current global warming, in this case evidenced in Iberian mountain ranges”, explained the main study researcher and professor from the University of Cantabria, Juan José González Trueba, to SINC.

This work, recently published in the magazine The Holocene, represents Spain’s scientific contribution to the climate change phenomenon in high mountains. The authors have compiled data from current and historic glacier studies, as well as information from Spain’s ERHIN Programme, to present the first global study on three glaciated high mountain areas in the Iberian Peninsular in historic times and the evolution of the deglaciation process to date.

60% of Pyrenean glaciers have melted

There are currently only 21 glaciers in the Pyrenees (ten on the Spanish side and eleven on the French side) covering an area of 450 hectares. In just 15 years, since 1990, glaciological calculations have shown that rapid melting has caused the total regression of the smallest glaciers and 50%-60% of the surface area of the largest glaciers.

According to this pioneering study, between 1880 and 1980, at least 94 glaciers disappeared in the Iberian Peninsular, and since the 1980s, the remaining 17 glaciers have disappeared. Glaciers are sensitive “geoindicators of climate change, and features of high heritage value, in a clear process of melting, and therefore possible disappearance”, González Trueba pointed out to SINC.

A look back at the past

The glaciers in the Iberian Peninsula's mountains were formed in the Little Ice Age. The coldest period in which the greatest spread of glaciers in the Spanish high mountains was recorded occurred between 1645 and 1710. Between 1750 and the beginning of the 19th century small glaciers receded in the Pyrenees but soon recovered thanks to a new period of low temperatures. However, since then, temperatures have risen between 0.7ºC y 0.9ºC in Spain’s northern mountains, showing the effects of global warming.

The first evidence of the existence of glaciers in the Picos de Europa was discovered in the notes of geographers, naturalists and travellers at the end of the 19th century. Recent studies have shown that Cantabrian glaciers existed in historic times, always located on the north faces of the highest peaks, under an oceanic climate at “extremely” low altitudes, from 2190 m to 2600 m.

In Sierra Nevada, scientists have verified the existence of the southernmost glacier in Europe during the Little Ice Age, under Mediterranean climate conditions, and where factors promoting the accumulation of snow were altitude, orientation (north side) and topographic conditions. This glacier, also indicated by the first naturalists, disappeared at the beginning of the 20th century. The rise in temperature caused its melting until it was transformed into a small “ice lens” buried beneath a dense blanket of deposits.

SINC Team | alfa
Further information:
http://www.plataformasinc.es

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

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:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

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...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

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...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

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...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

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,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Simple processing technique could cut cost of organic PV and wearable electronics

06.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

3-D printed kidney phantoms aid nuclear medicine dosing calibration

06.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Robot on demand: Mobile machining of aircraft components with high precision

06.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>