Glacier Meltdown cover

Vol no. 17 Issue No. 105

Inside this issue

Glacier Meltdown

Climate Change and the Glacial Realms

By: Staff Reporter

The cryosphere acts as sensitive thermometers recording the fluctuations in the climate. The Antarctic, the Arctic and the Himalaya are all showing signs of increasing ice mass loss on a decadal scale as a consequence of average rise of 0.8 oC in global temperatures since 1880 (IPCC, 2013). The meteorological observatories in the Arctic, the Antarctic and Tibet—demonstrate a rise in temperature over the last three decades.

Himalaya Seeking a Coordinated Approach in Glacier Research

By: Staff Reporter

Himalaya has been warming at a rate much higher than the global average. The results of studies on the glaciers of three basins - Indus, Ganga and Brahmaputra conducted over three decades are discussed.

The Glaciers of the Himalaya

By: Staff Reporter

In the central and eastern Himalayas, a general negative mass balance has been reported, whereas in the glaciers of the Karakoram Range in the northwestern Himalaya, heterogeneous behaviour is depicted.

Warming Temperatures and Arctic’s Dwindling Sea Ice

By: Staff Reporter

The Arctic amplification—as it has been termed, is resulting in a perceptible shift of this region to a new environment which is warmer, wetter and more variable than ever before.

International Relations

Geopolitics of the Poles in the Anthropocene Age

By: Staff Reporter

We need to realise that climate change under the Anthropocene, the present era of human civilization, may have long ranging impacts on the two Polar regions and therefore make some essential policy changes accordingly.

Geo-Archaeology

Sea level variation and Lothal

By: Staff Reporter

Foraminifera are sea organisms which have been widely used in palaeoceanography. The organisms indicate sea level changes and have played a significant role in identifying the oldest dockyard at Lothal in Gujarat.

Climate Change

Climate Model Successfully Predicts Arabian Sea Cyclones

By: Staff Reporter

The successful prediction of the recent cyclones in the Arabian Sea by Princeton University researchers along with the NOAA using climate models with temperature rise and atmospheric pollutants as variables raises poignant questions over climate change.

Disaster Study

Disasters and Exclusion from Education

By: Saswati Paik

Natural disasters in India are frequent and common. Around 85 per cent of the geographical area in India is vulnerable to natural disasters. Schools get affected every year in these areas. This article has made an attempt to explain how children in disaster prone areas lose access to schooling.

Revisiting Traditional Gender Identities in Disaster Response

By: Kanchan Gandhi

It is now widely acknowledged that when disasters occur, not all members of the ‘affected community’ are affected the same way. The earlier literature on gender and disasters over-emphasized women’s vulnerabilities in the aftermath of a disaster due to their care-giving roles. It did not consider the differential vulnerabilities of diverse groups of women based on their class, caste, race, age, occupation or sexual orientations. Similarly, men’s differential vulnerabilities were seldom discussed in the early literature on this subject. After disasters like the 2004 Tsunami and 2005 Hurricane Katrina however, the importance of the intersectionality of gender with race, occupation and class and other axes of social identity became more visible and discussed in the literature. This paper provides an overview of the literature on gender and disasters and calls for the need to nuance identity categories based on their intersectionality and multiplicity to achieve more sensitive and effective disaster responses.

Renewable Energy

PV Efficiency Grounds India’s Solar Ambitions

By: Staff Reporter

India is fast emerging as the largest market for low cost and poor quality solar photovoltaics (PV) modules— a compounding hazardous waste, especially threatening in the absence of adequate quality control.

Water Pollution

Identifying Water Quality with Insects

By: Staff Reporter

Testing pollution levels in natural water bodies can require a considerable amount of gear and instrumentation. However, there is another much simpler solution. Observing the species of insects that live in natural water bodies and identifying them can reveal how polluted that particular water body is.

In brief

Editor's Note

Tiny bubbles of air trapped in ice blocks, hundreds of years ago, help scientists decipher how the world’s climate changed over eons. These ice blocks are locked up in glaciers that sheet most of Arctic and Antarctic, apart from closer home, the Himalaya. Interestingly these trapped air bubbles ca

Term Power

What is ...

Calving is when chunks of ice break off at the terminus, or end of a glacier. Ice breaks because the forward motion of a glacier makes the terminus unstable. Then glacial calving occurs at the coasts—these resulting chunks are called 'icebergs'.

Moraines are accumulation of rock debris (till) carried or deposited by a glacier. The material, which ranges in size from blocks or boulders (usually faceted or striated) to sand and clay, is unstratified when dropped by the glacier and shows no sorting or bedding.

A subglacial lake is a permanent lake under a glacier, typically an ice cap or ice sheet. Subglacial lakes are usually formed due to the action of geothermal activity or the pressure exerted by the overlaying ice.

A crevasse is a deep, wedge-shaped opening in a glacier or ice sheet. Crevasses usually form in the top 50 m of a glacier, where the ice is brittle. Below that, a glacier is less brittle and can slide over uneven surfaces without cracking. The inflexible upper portion may split as it moves over the changing landscape.

A drumlin is an oval or elongated hill believed to have been formed by the erstwhile streamlined movement of glacial ice sheets across rock debris, or till.

Glacier mass balance is the difference between accumulation and ablation of a glacier in terms of the difference in thickness of snow from the previous measurement.

The process by which a layer of ice builds up on solid objects that are exposed to freezing precipitation or to supercooled fog or cloud droplets. At the earth’s surface this frequently leads to the formation of ice glazes.

An ice core is a cylinder-shaped sample of ice drilled from a glacier. Ice core records provide the most direct and detailed way to investigate past climate and atmospheric conditions.

Antarctic Circumpolar Current, also called West Wind Drift, surface oceanic current encircling Antarctica and flowing from west to east. It is Earth’s largest ocean current with the volume of water transported said to be at least 25,000,000 cubic m.

An ice shelf is a thick mass of floating ice that is attached to land, formed from and fed by tongues of glaciers extending outward from the land into sheltered waters.

Permafrost is perennially frozen ground, a naturally occurring material with a temperature colder than 0 °C (32 °F) continuously for two or more years. Such a layer of frozen ground is designated exclusively on the basis of temperature.

When glaciers melt faster than they are replenished by precipitation, the total volume decreases. The glacier shrinks. This is called a glacial retreat. The glacier is not actually physically moving up, but only appears to do so.

Albedo is the fraction of light that is reflected by a body or surface. Ice and snow being white in colour exhibit high albedo, i.e. reflectance of solar heat.

The Antarctic Treaty is an agreement signed by 12 nations, in which Antarctic was made a demilitarised zone to be preserved for scientific research. The Treaty resulted from a conference in Washington, D.C.

Black Carbon is any of a group of intensely black, finely divided forms of amorphous carbon, usually obtained as soot from partial combustion of hydrocarbons. Their deposition on frozen matter can cause the matter to melt.

Letters