New Zealand’s Glaciers Testament to Climate Change

New research has found extreme melting of New Zealand’s glaciers in 2018 was at least ten times more likely due to human-caused global heating, Graham Readfearn reports for The Guardian.

Twice a year, glaciologist Lauren Vargo and her colleagues set up camp beside two small lakes close to the Brewster glacier. Each time the trek to carry the measuring stakes takes a little bit longer as the glacier’s terminus gets further away, Readfearn writes.

Dr Vargo, a native of Ohio now working at the Antarctic Research Centre at Victoria University, is studying New Zealand’s glaciers from the air and on the ice, the research of which has just been published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Annual monitoring flights over 50 glaciers have been taking place in New Zealand since 1977 and record the position of the snowline and the thickness and flow of the ice.

There was less snow on the glaciers in 2018 than had ever been seen on the flights before.

Co-author on the study, Prof Andrew Mackintosh, Head of the Monash University School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment, says while it may be obvious that a warming planet is melting glaciers, the new research is only the second study to look closely at the human fingerprints of climate change on disappearing glaciers.

He said: “When I started as a glaciologist I thought things happened slowly but this was like taking a laser gun and just taking out all the snow and ice.”

Original article by Graham Readfearn, The Guardian, August 3, 2020.

Photo by Dave Allen/Lauren Vargo.


Tags: Climate Change  Glaciers  Guardian (The)