Global News

The Copernicus Gesellschaft e.V., the exclusive partner of Copernicus Meetings & Publications, solicits nominations of appropriate candidates from the international geo- and space sciences community. 

Candidate nominations should be submitted by 15 November.

Climate change is causing mountain snow to melt more rapidly and glaciers to shrink, with a widely varied impact on water supplies in Asia according to a new paper published in the journal Science.

These effects are altering the water supplies of more than one billion people who depend on rivers that have their headwaters in the Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges, according to the new paper 'Glaciohydrology of the Himalaya-Karakoram' that appeared in Science this month. 

The newly formed Global Network for Geoscience and Society (GNGS) seeks the mountain research community's input. 

The GNGS will address aspects of science-policy while also highlighting non-policy-related opportunities for civic-minded geoscientists to address societal challenges related to natural resource exploitation, environmental contamination, natural hazards, and climate change. 

In a peer-reviewed workshop report on biodiversity and climate change published earlier this month, global experts identify key options for solutions in first-ever collaboration between IPBES and IPCC selected scientists. The report highlights a number of instances in which climate change and biodiversity loss are key interacting issues for mountain regions. 

Unprecedented changes in climate and biodiversity, driven by human activities, have combined and increasingly threaten nature, human lives, livelihoods and well-being around the world. Biodiversity loss and climate change are both driven by human economic activities and mutually reinforce each other. Neither will be successfully resolved unless both are tackled together. This is the message of a workshop report, published earlier this month by 50 of the world’s leading biodiversity and climate experts.

Some four months ago, a devastating flood ravaged the Chamoli district in the Indian Himalayas, killing over 200 people. The flood was caused by a massive landslide, which also involved a glacier. Researchers at the University of Zurich, the WSL and ETH Zurich have now analyzed the causes, scope, and impact of the disaster as part of an international collaboration.

On 7 February 2021, a massive wall of rock and ice collapsed and formed a debris flow that barreled down the Rishiganga and Dhauliganga river valleys, leaving a trail of devastation. The flood took more than 200 lives and destroyed two hydropower plants as well as several roads and bridges. A large international team including researchers from the University of Zurich (UZH), the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) and the ETH Zurich came together immediately after the disaster and began to investigate the cause and scope of the flood and landslide. Their study used satellite imagery, digital models of the terrain, seismic data and video footage to reconstruct the event with the help of computer models.

With global warming decreasing the size of New Zealand’s alpine zone, a University of Otago study found out what this means for the altitude-loving kea.

The study, published in Molecular Ecology, analysed whole genome DNA data of the kea and, for the first time, its forest-adapted sister species, the kākā, to identify genomic differences which cause their habitat specialisations.

New research based on information from the European Space Agency’s CryoSat mission shows how much ice has been lost from mountain glaciers in the Gulf of Alaska and in High Mountain Asia since 2010.

As our climate warms, ice melting from glaciers around the world is one of main causes of sea-level rise. As well as being a major contributor to this worrying trend, the loss of glacier ice also poses a direct threat to hundreds of millions of people relying on glacier runoff for drinking water and irrigation.

One tends to think of mountain glaciers as slow moving, their gradual passage down a mountainside visible only through a long series of satellite imagery or years of time-lapse photography. However, new research shows that glacier flow can be much more dramatic, ranging from about 10 metres a day to speeds that are more like that of avalanches, with obvious potential dire consequences for those living below.

Glaciers are generally slow-flowing rivers of ice, under the force of gravity transporting snow that has turned to ice at the top of the mountain to locations lower down the valley – a gradual process of balancing their upper-region mass gain with their lower-elevation mass loss. This process usually takes many decades. Since this is influenced by the climate, scientists use changes in the rate of glacier flow as an indicator of climate change.

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