‘Cluster of cold years’ behind New Zealand’s surprising glacier growth

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Description

Across the world, scientists have recorded the retreat of hundreds of glaciers, providing categorical evidence that the Earth’s climate is warming.

But in a few pockets, glaciers have bucked this trend by advancing. One of these places is the Southern Alps in New Zealand, where several dozen glaciers grew in length between the 1980s and the late 2000s.

While previous research has never been quite able to pin down why this happened, a new study says it can. The findings, just published in Nature Communications, show that “a cluster of cold years” locally allowed the glaciers to advance, rather than an increase in snow as earlier research has suggested.

Since the period of advance stopped in 2008, the glaciers are retreating once again. And they’re now smaller than ever before in the observed record, the lead author tells Carbon Brief.

Period14 Feb 2017

Media contributions

1

Media contributions

  • Title‘Cluster of cold years’ behind New Zealand’s surprising glacier growth
    Degree of recognitionInternational
    Media name/outletCarbon Brief: Clear on Climate
    Media typeWeb
    CountryUnited Kingdom
    Date14/02/17
    DescriptionAcross the world, scientists have recorded the retreat of hundreds of glaciers, providing categorical evidence that the Earth’s climate is warming.

    But in a few pockets, glaciers have bucked this trend by advancing. One of these places is the Southern Alps in New Zealand, where several dozen glaciers grew in length between the 1980s and the late 2000s.

    While previous research has never been quite able to pin down why this happened, a new study says it can. The findings, just published in Nature Communications, show that “a cluster of cold years” locally allowed the glaciers to advance, rather than an increase in snow as earlier research has suggested.

    Since the period of advance stopped in 2008, the glaciers are retreating once again. And they’re now smaller than ever before in the observed record, the lead author tells Carbon Brief.
    URLhttps://www.carbonbrief.org/cluster-cold-years-behind-new-zealand-glacier-growth
    PersonsAndrew Mackintosh