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Mountain systems are sensitive to climate change. Loss of snow and ice sets off effects which have wide ranging consequences.
Rocca Calascio is a mountaintop fortress in the province of L'Aquila in Italy. It bears witness to the long relationship between humanity and mountains, and how natural landscapes are also culture ones.
Often thought of as eternal, mountains are vulnerable to climate change and tourism. To protect them, they should be recognised for their cultural values, not just their natural characteristics.
The Aletsch Glacier in Switzerland is the largest in the Alps. A century ago it was several kilometres longer and several hundred metres thicker.
Alberto Garcia Guillen / shutterstock
Switzerland’s glaciers just lost 6% of their ice in a single year.
Switzerland’s Great Aletsch Glacier is 23km long and located in the World Heritage site Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch. It leads the list of glaciers in the European Alps in terms of length and size, yet since the mid-19th century, it has lost more than 25% of its volume.
Jo in Riederalp/Wikipedia
Rising temperatures and extreme weather pose an existential threat to many UNESCO World Heritage sites, but widespread discussion is needed for meaningful change.
A look into the heart of the glacier.
Researchers from the University of Oslo have drilled to the bottom of the Kongsvegen glacier. Find out why and how they are listening to the destabilisation of Arctic glaciers: The MAMMAMIA project.
The edge of the Thwaites Glacier extends into the Amundsen Sea in western Antarctica.
If and when the Thwaites Glacier melts, it will result in nearly 0.6 metres of sea level rise, but it holds back another three metres of sea level rise lurking within the Antarctic continent. Listen to The Conversation Weekly podcast.
Pakistani women wade through floodwaters as they take refuge on Sep. 2, 2022.
(AP Photo/Fareed Khan)
Climate change will increase the frequency of both floods and droughts in Pakistan. To address these challenges, enhancing infrastructure, building dams and educating the public are necessary.
Esmee van Wijk
Antarctica’s ice shelves have helped insulate it from dangerous levels of ice loss. But this is changing.
The findings underscore the urgency of limiting global warming to below 1.5℃, to avert the most catastrophic climate harms.
During ice ages, ice sheets like the one in Greenland have covered much of Earth’s surface.
Thor Wegner/DeFodi Images via Getty Images
The Earth has had at least five major ice ages, and humans showed up in time for the most recent one. In fact, we’re still in it.
Co-author Chloe Gustafson and mountaineer Meghan Seifert install measuring equipment on an ice stream.
Kerry Key/Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Liquid water below the ice determines how fast an ice stream flows. As the ice sheet gets thinner, more of that salty groundwater could rise.
Rocks deposited by vanishing glaciers in the Southern Alps thousands of years ago hold climate clues about the past, painting a bleak picture about the long-term survival of alpine ice in New Zealand.
For the first time since satellites started studying the continent, East Antarctica has lost an entire ice shelf.
Windmill Islands, near Casey Research Station, Antarctica
Dana M Bergstrom
This seemingly one-off heatwave may be a harbinger for the future under climate change.
Remote sensing satellites provide the crucial data that helps scientists model disasters so that they can work on predicting avalanche patterns in future.
Tidal flooding is creeping farther into coastal towns like Alexandria, Virginia.
Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images
A sea level scientist explains the two main ways climate change is threatening the coasts.
Mountain glaciers are under threat from global warming.
Phunjo Lama/AFP via Getty Images
Glaciers in North America, Europe and the Andes, in particular, have significantly less ice than people realized.
Glaciers like Antarctica’s Byrd Glacier are showing cracks and movement.
United States Geological Survey
A massive Antarctic ice shelf is showing signs of cracking and could trigger worldwide flooding.
Community members from Utqiagvik, Alaska, look to open water from the edge of shorefast sea ice.
Sea ice is thinning at an alarming rate. Snow is shifting to rain. And humans worldwide are increasingly feeling the impact of what happens in the seemingly distant Arctic.
Each year the global temperature is 1 C above the 1951-80 average temperature, glaciers lose, on average, about 0.8 metres of water equivalent depth.
Policy-makers need the courage to commit to meaningful reductions of greenhouse gas emissions if we want to avoid the widespread loss of mountain glaciers.