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Glacial and Permafrost Systems under climate change: State, Risks and Mitigation Measures
Convener: Christian Huggel  | Co-Conveners: Michael Krautblatter , Josefine Lenz , Reginald Muskett , Annett Bartsch , Sebastian Westermann 
 / Wed, 11 Apr, 13:30–17:00
 / Attendance Wed, 11 Apr, 17:30–19:00

All components of the cryosphere have been undergoing significant changes. Most visibly, glaciers are retreating and thinning. Snow cover and duration is generally reduced, and permafrost, in both Arctic and alpine environments, is thawing. Changes in sea ice cover and characteristics have attracted widespread attention, and changes in ice sheets are monitored with care and concern.

This session provides a comprehensive perspective on the state of glacial and periglacial systems under climate pressure. It focuses on processes related to permafrost and glacier changes.
The session also offers a perspective of risks associated with one or several of these cryosphere components. It considers a variety of physical processes, including new or growing glacier lakes that pose a threat to downstream communities through the potential for sudden drainage; thawing permafrost can destabilize mountain flanks, and eventually result in destructive rock and ice avalanches. An accelerated rate of permafrost degradation in low-land areas poses risk to existing and planned infrastructure and raises concerns about large-scale emission of greenhouse gases currently trapped in Arctic permafrost. Decreased summertime sea ice extent may produce both risks and opportunities in terms of large-scale climate feedbacks and alterations, coastal vulnerability, and new access to transport routes and natural resources. Eventually, rapid acceleration of outlet glacier ice discharge and collapse of ice sheets is of major concern for sea level change.

This session invites contributions across all cryosphere components that address the state of glacial and periglacial systems, associated risks and strategies and measures to reduce or mitigate these risks associated with observed or projected physical processes. Contributions considering more than one cryosphere component (e.g. glaciers and permafrost) are particularly encouraged.