CLIMATE CHANGE ROUND UP FOR THE WEEK ENDING DECEMBER 22, 2018
A NASA-led, international study finds Asia’s high mountain glaciers are flowing more slowly in response to widespread ice loss, affecting freshwater availability downstream in India, Pakistan and China. Researchers analyzed almost 2 million satellite images of the glaciers and found that 94 percent of the differences in flow rates could be explained by changes in ice thickness.
For more than a decade, satellite data have documented that the glaciers were thinning as the melt rates on their top surfaces increased. However, “It has not been entirely clear how these glaciers are responding to this ice loss,” said the lead author of the new study, Amaury Dehecq of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “The rate at which they will disappear in the future depends on how they adjust to a warming climate.”
Climate change is prompting glaciers in British Columbia, Yukon and Alberta to retreat faster than at any time in history, threatening to raise water levels and create deserts, scientists say.
David Hik, an ecology professor at Simon Fraser University, said the region is one of the hotspots for warming and the magnitude of change in the glaciers is dramatic.
“Probably 80 per cent of the mountain glaciers in Alberta and B.C. will disappear in the next 50 years,” he said.
Extreme weather events linked to climate change cost thousands of lives and caused huge damage throughout the world in 2018, say Christian Aid.
The charity’s report identified ten events that cost more than $1bn each, with four costing more than $7bn each.
Scientists have shown that the chances of heat waves in Europe were influenced directly by human-related warming.
Other events, say the authors, are due to shifts in weather patterns, said to be a consequence of climate change.