Title

How is Black Carbon Accelerating Glacial Ablation

Date

5-31-2018 10:15 AM

End Time

31-5-2018 10:30 AM

Location

WUC Pacific Room

Session Chair

Melinda Shimizu

Session Title

Shaping our world: Glaciers and their impact on Western North America

Faculty Sponsor(s)

Melinda Shimizu

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

Today more than 90% of Earth’s glaciers are rapidly melting away. Although Earth’s quick rising temperatures play a major role in this process, some secondary processes have been adding to the loss of glacial ice and snowpack every year. Black Carbon from anthropogenic sources and forest fires are increasingly accelerating the melting rate on glaciers. The increase in forest fires year after year, allied with winds that drive the smoke towards glacial regions, deposit black carbon on glaciers. Forest fires smoke has been traced and measured in Greenland, China and US, showing its impact to glacial environments. Further studies have looked at the impacts of this smoke on glacial ice showing that when it deposits on top of glaciers, it greatly reduces its albedo, accelerating the rate in which glaciers are wasting away. As this pattern continues, cities, and whole regions, that depend on the water that melt from these glaciers during dry season, will have longer and more frequent droughts, and increase the planet’s rate of solar energy absorption, leading to even higher temperatures, potentially more fires, and further melting of glacial ice.

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May 31st, 10:15 AM May 31st, 10:30 AM

How is Black Carbon Accelerating Glacial Ablation

WUC Pacific Room

Today more than 90% of Earth’s glaciers are rapidly melting away. Although Earth’s quick rising temperatures play a major role in this process, some secondary processes have been adding to the loss of glacial ice and snowpack every year. Black Carbon from anthropogenic sources and forest fires are increasingly accelerating the melting rate on glaciers. The increase in forest fires year after year, allied with winds that drive the smoke towards glacial regions, deposit black carbon on glaciers. Forest fires smoke has been traced and measured in Greenland, China and US, showing its impact to glacial environments. Further studies have looked at the impacts of this smoke on glacial ice showing that when it deposits on top of glaciers, it greatly reduces its albedo, accelerating the rate in which glaciers are wasting away. As this pattern continues, cities, and whole regions, that depend on the water that melt from these glaciers during dry season, will have longer and more frequent droughts, and increase the planet’s rate of solar energy absorption, leading to even higher temperatures, potentially more fires, and further melting of glacial ice.