28 °C Singapore, SG
July 24, 2021
Latest News
BlackRock Real Assets to back Korean offshore wind farm project CIP to sell minority stake in Taiwanese offshore wind cluster Nearly 76 Gigawatt-Hours of Battery Cells Produced in U.S.A 2010–2020 Melting tropical glaciers sound an early warning Enhanced cooperation on renewable energy transition between International Renewable Energy Agency and China Decarbonising industry is key to China’s net-zero strategy Carbon Brief’s China weekly digest. Rising seas could cost Asia’s biggest cities US$724 billion by 2030 Electric Vehicle Growth is Accelerating but its Given Rise to a New Social Faux Pas Southeast Asia PR industry launches working group to curb greenwashing Asia Pacific wind and solar spend to hit $1.3trn this decade How the next 5 years can buy us a decade to solve climate change G7 leaders urged to support SAF Uncrewed survey vehicles for offshore wind farm surveys Pathway to global climate catastrophe is clear Mohdi: India’s vision for a biofuels future EGAT to pilot flexibility in Thailand China Briefing, 3 June 2021: New climate ‘leaders group’; ‘Record-breaking’ electricity consumption; ‘Artificial sun’ Wärtsilä commissions first energy storage projects in the Philippines China’s first floating wind turbine ready for installation IEEFA Update: G7 coal finance exit and why it matters for India Accelerating Renewables in Asian Cities: Opportunities for Cleaner Air Iberdrola and Mitsubishi Power partner for renewable technologies Bundestag clears way for more climate protection in transport Analysis: China’s carbon emissions grow at fastest rate for more than a decade Ørsted forms alliance for Japanese offshore wind Hitachi ABB Power Grids selected for Thailand’s largest private microgrid Taiwanese company buys majority stake in ENGIE’s storage and EV arm US ethanol exports rebound on near-record shipments to China The Pacific calls Australia to Fund Our Future – NOT Gas.

Melting tropical glaciers sound an early warning

Climate change means melting tropical glaciers are losing frozen landscapes of great beauty − and high value to millions.

LONDON, 5 July, 2021 − The world’s remotest water towers are in retreat. The snows of Kilimanjaro in Africa are diminishing: between 1986 and 2017 the area of ice that crowns the most famous mountain in Tanzania has decreased by 71%. A tropical glacier near Puncak Jaya in Papua in Indonesia has lost 93% of its ice in the 38 years from 1980 to 2018. Melting tropical glaciers are together sounding an ominous warning.

The frozen summit of Huascarán, the highest peak in the tropics, in Peru has decreased in area by 19% between 1970 and 2003. In 1976, US scientists first took cores from the ice cap of Quelccaya in the Peruvian Andes: by 2020, around 46% had gone.

The darkening summits of the highest tropical mountains have a message for the world about the rate of climate change. “These are in the most remote parts of our planet − they’re not next to big cities, so you don’t have a local pollution effect,” said Lonnie Thompson of Ohio University.

“These glaciers are sentinels, they’re early warning systems for the planet and they are all saying the same thing.”

Millennial climate records

He and colleagues report in the journal Global and Planetary Change that they analysed the impact of warming on what they call “rapidly retreating high-altitude, low-latitude glaciers” in four separate regions of the planet: Africa, the Andes in Peru and Bolivia, the Tibetan Plateau and Himalayas of Asia, and the mountains of Papua province in Indonesia on the island known as New Guinea in the southwestern Pacific.

Each of the sample glaciers has yielded cores of ice that preserve, in their snow chemistry and trapped pollen, a record of many thousands of years of subtle climate change. And, since 1972, Earth observation satellites such as Nasa’s Landsat mission have monitored their surfaces.

In a world now heating as a response to greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, where once snow had fallen, there is now rain to wash away the high-altitude ice. Glaciers serve as sources of fresh water for farmers and villagers in the tropical mountain zones: they also provide the river melt for many millions downstream.

The latest research confirms something climate scientists already knew: that almost everywhere, mountain ice is in retreat, with potentially devastating consequences for local economies. And the culprit is climate change driven by profligate fossil fuel combustion.

“These glaciers are sentinels, they’re early warning systems for the planet and they are all saying the same thing”

The Ohio researchers say: “Since the beginning of the 21st century the rates of ice loss have been at historically unprecedented levels.”

Within two or three years, the high snows near Puncak Jaya − these have powerful religious and cultural significance for the local people − will have gone.

But, the scientists argue, it is not too late to slow or stop the rate of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, and to slow or stop the retreat of many tropical glaciers.

“The science doesn’t change the trajectory we’re on,” said Professor Thompson. “Regardless of how clear the science is, we need something to happen to change that trajectory.” − Climate News Network

Source

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *