CR7.5 | Interdisciplinary impacts and perspectives in a changing Cryosphere
EDI
Interdisciplinary impacts and perspectives in a changing Cryosphere
Convener: Caroline Clason | Co-conveners: Amy Lauren Lovecraft, Giovanni BaccoloECSECS, Sally Rangecroft, Meghan Taylor, Edyta Łokas, Ewa PonieckaECSECS
Orals
| Wed, 17 Apr, 14:00–15:45 (CEST)
 
Room L2
Posters on site
| Attendance Tue, 16 Apr, 16:15–18:00 (CEST) | Display Tue, 16 Apr, 14:00–18:00
 
Hall X5
Orals |
Wed, 14:00
Tue, 16:15
The decline of the cryosphere, from glaciers and permafrost, to sea ice and snowpacks, has manifold impacts for the environment, ecosystems, and society. For example, changing meltwater regimes and release of stored contaminants are important considerations for both water quantity and quality, while sediment transport from glaciated catchments has consequences for nutrient cycling, downstream habitats, agriculture, and industry. Changing landscapes and associated hazards also feed into socio-cultural pressures and risk, and lead to changes in the ways people interact with these environments. The impacts of cryospheric change across different regions worldwide are thus crucial to explore in a multidisciplinary context, and to communicate effectively with researchers, the public, and stakeholder groups alike.

To address the impacts of the loss of cryosphere, natural and social scientists must work together, and in concert with the people and businesses who live with, and rely on, the cryosphere at high latitudes and high mountain regions. This session provides a platform for insights and discussion of the consequences and impacts of global cryospheric decline, with a broad and inclusive focus. We invite contributions including but not restricted to topics such as loss and damage, adaptation to cryospheric hazards, biodiversity impacts, environmental quality, and resource security. We particularly welcome research that spans disciplinary boundaries, bridging subjects such as cryospheric science, human geography, hydrology, and ecology.

Orals: Wed, 17 Apr | Room L2

The oral presentations are given in a hybrid format supported by a Zoom meeting featuring on-site and virtual presentations. The button to access the Zoom meeting appears just before the time block starts.
Chairpersons: Caroline Clason, Amy Lauren Lovecraft
Session introduction
14:00–14:05
Environmental impacts of a declining cryosphere
14:05–14:15
|
EGU24-6496
|
CR7.5
|
On-site presentation
Michel Baraer, Bastien Charonnat, Eole Valence, Jeffrey McKenzie, and Janie Masse-Dufresne

Alpine environments in cold regions are undergoing rapid transformations due to shifting climates, raising concerns about the future of ecosystems and downstream water supplies. Traditionally, hydrological studies have focused on visible cryospheric elements, often overlooking buried features like permafrost, ice-cored moraines, and rock glaciers, as well as the significance of groundwater in alpine valleys. Recent investigations, however, highlight the pivotal role of groundwater in shaping local watershed dynamics and regional water resources in these cold regions.

 

Understanding hydrogeology in cold region alpine environments presents challenges due to remote and inaccessible study sites and harsh winter conditions. Recent studies suggest that the winter hydrogeological dynamics of proglacial areas are captured within proglacial aufeis, ice formations persisting during winter despite extended sub-zero temperatures.

 

This study focuses on aufeis formation within a tributary of the Duke Valley, a glacierized catchment in the green belt of Mount St-Elias on the Kluane First Nation territory in Yukon. Employing a field-based approach at the Shar Shäw Tágà study site and remote sensing analysis using satellite imagery, our research aims to delineate key aufeis growth stages and identify contributing water sources.

 

The field study, conducted from 2018 to 2023, utilizes time-lapse imagery, hydrochemical tracers, and meteorological records to reveal aufeis growth variability. Observations in Shar Shäw Tágà show aufeis forming consistently across most years, spanning from the canyon exit to the meander of the Grizzly Creek River. However, results indicate a three-year absence of aufeis formation and variability in formation dates when present. Notably, aufeis growth deceleration or cessation in March, despite sustained sub-zero temperatures, suggests groundwater's role.

 

Remote sensing analysis dating back to 1974 indicates a declining trend in aufeis occurrences. Statistical analysis on relative frequencies suggests a potential link between non-formation and meteorological conditions from the preceding summer, supporting the hypothesis that aufeis occurrence is influenced by factors impacting groundwater behavior.

 

The correlation between aufeis formation and longer-term factors implies aufeis as a valuable indicator of groundwater evolution in alpine cold regions, sensitive to processes beyond immediate seasonal variations. These findings contribute to our understanding of broader changes in groundwater behavior over extended periods in these dynamic environments.

How to cite: Baraer, M., Charonnat, B., Valence, E., McKenzie, J., and Masse-Dufresne, J.: What Proglacial Aufeis Formations Tell Us about the Evolution of Hydrological Processes in a Glacier Decline Context, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-6496, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-6496, 2024.

14:15–14:25
|
EGU24-7565
|
CR7.5
|
On-site presentation
Katarzyna Kołtonik, Krzysztof Zawierucha, Kamil Wojciechowski, Tomasz Mróz, Przemysław Niedzielski, Juliana Souza-Kasprzyk, Mariusz Wierzgoń, Kayode Olabode, Anna Cwanek, Dariusz Sala, Jacob Clement Yde, Przemysław Wachniew, and Edyta Łokas

Glacier mice are ovoid-shaped conglomerations of bryophytes and mineral particles that are rarely found on glacier surfaces. They form colonies, host diverse organism communities and possess the ability to roll around on the glacier surface. Their movement on the glacier appears non-random, assuming a herd-like behaviour. This study is the first survey of the occurrence of radionuclides (137Cs, 210Pb, 238,239,240Pu) and heavy metals (Pb, As, Hg, Cd) in glacier mice, cryoconite debris, and proglacial bryophytes at Austerdalsbreen, an outlet glacier from Jostedalsbreen ice cap, western Norway. Ongoing research on cryoconite shows that glacier surfaces host dynamic ecosystems capable of capturing and processing airborne contaminants. However, nothing is known about the role of glacier mice in the cycling of contaminants, particularly in relation to cryoconite.

The following objectives are pursued in this study:

  • Determining and comparing radionuclide and heavy metal concentrations across glacier ecosystems in bryophytes (glacier surface vs. terminal moraine vs. proglacial forefield) and cryoconite.
  • Identifying nuclear contamination sources in the investigated samples using the mass and activity ratios (240Pu/239Pu and 239+240Pu/137Cs).

The analysis of radionuclides was performed by alpha and gamma spectrometry, while mass ratio and heavy metals quantification using ICP MS. We found that glacier mice are characterized by activity concentrations of radionuclides several times lower than those in cryoconite. There is no clear statistically significant difference between the activity of studied isotopes and bryophytes on a spatial scale. When concentrations of radionuclides in cryoconite from Austerdalsbreen are compared with data from other Scandinavian glaciers, plutonium and cesium signatures in the Austerdalsbreen samples show compatible levels for global fallout and Chernobyl accident, respectively. Regarding heavy metals, the highest concentrations were found in bryophytes from the glacier surface compared to samples from the forefield. Levels of Hg and Pb are elevated in bryophytes especially from the glacier surface (0.7 ppm and 30 ppm, respectively), whereas Cd and As (0.06 ppm and 0.49 ppm, respectively) are relatively similar to values reported for mosses in Norway. The concentrations of Hg and Pb in bryophytes from the glacier surface are similar to values found in cryoconite from Austerdalsbreen and Blåisen, an outlet glacier from Hardangerjøkulen ice cap located 120 km south of Austerdalsbreen.

The results show that concentrations of radionuclides and heavy metals are mainly influenced by atmospheric deposition from long-range transport, although potential local sources must also be considered. Increased concentrations of some heavy metals in bryophytes from glacier surfaces may suggest that the rolling of bryophytes (glacier mice) on glacier surfaces may absorb heavy metals from cryoconite. Additionally, glacier mice rolling from the melting glacier may serve as a secondary source of inorganic pollutants to newly developed proglacial ecosystems.

How to cite: Kołtonik, K., Zawierucha, K., Wojciechowski, K., Mróz, T., Niedzielski, P., Souza-Kasprzyk, J., Wierzgoń, M., Olabode, K., Cwanek, A., Sala, D., Yde, J. C., Wachniew, P., and Łokas, E.: Radionuclides and heavy metal concentrations in glacier mice on Austerdalsbreen, an outlet glacier from Jostedalsbreen ice cap, Norway, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-7565, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-7565, 2024.

14:25–14:35
|
EGU24-20637
|
CR7.5
|
On-site presentation
Dan Shugar, Gwenn Flowers, Derek Cronmiller, Laurent Mingo, Al von Finster, and Meghan Sharp

Sockeye salmon are an important species both ecologically as well as culturally. At some point in the recent geological past, as substantiated by Indigenous oral history and ecological data, sockeye would migrate up Alsek River through the St Elias Mountains into southwest Yukon. But they no longer do so, and river-blocking surges of Nàłùdäy (Lowell Glacier), which translates to ‘Fish Stop’, have been blamed. During multiple surges over the past few thousand years, Nàłùdäy impounded massive glacial lakes, which drained catastrophically and transported vast quantities of gravel and boulders downstream. Although Nàłùdäy has not blocked Alsek River since the late 1800s, sockeye have yet to recolonize this stretch of the river. In this study, we suggest a recent advance of Tweedsmuir Glacier, about 65 km downstream of Nàłùdäy, caused Alsek River to carve the narrow Turnback Canyon into bedrock. This canyon, which stretches for ~10 km along the glacier’s terminus and in places is only a few metres wide, produces a functionally insurmountable velocity barrier to upstream fish migration. The ultimate goal of the study is to determine whether Alsek River was rerouted in the recent geological past, cutting off the sockeye salmon migration. Our specific objectives are to (1) determine whether an ancestral paleochannel of Alsek River exists beneath Tweedsmuir Glacier; (2) establish the chronology of canyon incision and determine whether it was related to rapid drainage of ice-dammed lakes at Nàłùdäy; and (3) evaluate whether the subglacial topography may be conducive to Alsek River abandoning Turnback Canyon as the glacier retreats, creating a gentler stretch of river allowing fish to reach upstream habitat.

 

Between 2019 and 2022, we collected more than 450 line-km of airborne and ground-based ice-penetrating radar data over the lower glacier to map the subglacial topography with the intent of determining whether a paleochannel might exist up which sockeye may have traveled prior to Neoglacial advances. Results suggest that the terminal lobe of Tweedsmuir Glacier is up to ~500 m thick and in some places the bed is up to ~100 m below sea level. Based on preliminary analyses of the radar data, it is conceivable that Alsek River could abandon Turnback Canyon for the lower elevation terrain, as the glacier retreats in the coming decades and centuries. Terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide dating of the canyon walls using 36Cl suggests that the canyon was cut within the last thousand years, and very quickly, possibly in a single episode of downcutting.

How to cite: Shugar, D., Flowers, G., Cronmiller, D., Mingo, L., von Finster, A., and Sharp, M.: Tweedsmuir Glacier, Alsek River, and the salmon migration that wasn’t, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-20637, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-20637, 2024.

14:35–14:45
|
EGU24-8179
|
CR7.5
|
ECS
|
On-site presentation
Agnieszka Pasieka, Kamil Brudecki, Przemysław Niedzielski, Aleksandra Proch, Nozomu Takeuchi, Roberto Ambrosini, Phil Owens, Krzysztof Zawierucha, Giovanni Baccolo, Caroline Clason, Dylan Beard, Jacob Clement Yde, and Edyta Łokas

Mercury (Hg) is a chemical element recognized as one of the most toxic among all naturally occurring elements, with health risks depending on its form, concentration, route and time of exposure. Mercury appears in the environment as a result of human activities, which include burning coal or lignite, improper waste disposal, oil refining, use of mercury-containing pesticides and fertilizers, and industrial development such as mining, chemical, pharmaceutical and paper industries. The element also appears in the environment as a consequence of natural phenomena, among which are volcanic emissions, rock erosion, biomass burning and geothermal processes, but also as a result of re-emissions. Mercury can persist in the atmosphere for up to several months, which promotes the transfer of the element to areas far from the emitting source.

Cryoconite, a sediment accumulating on the surface of glaciers, is known to accumulate atmospheric contaminants such as Hg likely due to biofilm producing extracellular polymeric substances. Mercury is a contaminant of primary concern in the global environment, including cryosphere environments such as glaciers, due to its high toxicity to biota. This study, for the first time, presents a comprehensive global analysis of the variation in Hg concentrations, observed in cryoconite holes and deposits from the surface of 27 glaciers in both hemispheres, comprising 105 samples in total. Concentrations of Hg were determined through ICP-MS/MS.  

The results indicate a higher Hg content in cryoconite from glaciers located in the Northern Hemisphere, which can be linked to the proximity of highly industrialized areas, which contrasts to glaciers located in the Southern Hemisphere. The highest Hg content was measured in cryoconite located in Norway and Alaska (up to 0.7 ppm), and the Alps (close to 0.5 ppm), correlated with the levels of industrialization in these regions. Our results reveal a broad pattern of reduction in Hg concentrations in cryoconite with altitude, which may be related to the topographical relief affecting the transport of contaminants from higher altitudes to lower.

As a result of global warming, the majority of glaciers are retreating. The accumulated Hg in the cryoconite can be released during melting of glaciers and thus may also contribute to contamination of the downstream ecosystems and local communities through consumption of contaminated food and water in polar and alpine regions. Therefore, studies like this are needed to monitor the levels and fate of Hg in glaciers and ice caps.

How to cite: Pasieka, A., Brudecki, K., Niedzielski, P., Proch, A., Takeuchi, N., Ambrosini, R., Owens, P., Zawierucha, K., Baccolo, G., Clason, C., Beard, D., Yde, J. C., and Łokas, E.: Worldwide Accumulation of Atmospheric Mercury in Glacier Cryoconite, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-8179, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-8179, 2024.

14:45–14:55
|
EGU24-3302
|
CR7.5
|
On-site presentation
Shin Sugiyama and the ArCS II Coastal Environments Project

Coastal environments around Greenland are rapidly changing under the influence of a warming climate. Glaciers are melting and glacial meltwater discharge is affecting ocean environments, resulting in a wide range of impacts on marine ecosystems. Steep terrains along the coast are destabilized by thawing permafrost and more frequent heavy rain events. These changes in natural environments are serious concerns of Greenlandic societies. An increasing amount of glacial melt causes flooding of streams. Settlements at the foot of steep slopes are threatened by landslide hazards. Accordingly, an increasing number of damages to buildings and infrastructures are reported. To investigate changing coastal environments and their impact on society in Greenland, we have been running a research project in Qaanaaq, a small village in northwestern Greenland, under the framework of Japanese Arctic research projects GRENE (Green Network of Excellence), ArCS (Arctic Challenge for Sustainability) and ArCS II. In this presentation, we introduce the overview of our multidisciplinary research activities performed in the Qaanaaq region since 2012.

On Qaanaaq Ice Cap, annual mass balance and ice speed have been measured since 2012 to investigate glacier changes and processes driving rapid ice loss. Discharge of a glacial stream is measured to study the mechanism of foods, which frequently destroy a road connecting the village with Oaanaaq Airport. In a nearby smaller settlement Siorapaluk, a slope affected by a landslide was surveyed to study the triggering mechanism of the failure. During the late summer season, research activities were performed in the largest glacial fjord in the region, Inglefield Bredening. Using boats operated by local collaborators, seawater properties are measured, moorings are installed for year-round measurements, and habitats of fish, seabirds and marine mammals are surveyed. Biologger tagging is performed in collaboration with hunters as well as a researcher from the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources in Nuuk. Recently, a dump site in the village was surveyed by waste management engineers to investigate possible soil and water pollution. Measurements were also carried out in houses to evaluate the performance of the buildings for energy efficiency and a healthy living environment.

Project activities and study results are reported to the community in a workshop organized in Qaanaaq since 2016. About 50 people attend presentations by researchers. The focus of discussion after the presentations is health and safety. Questions are raised about possible pollution around the dump site and concentrations of toxic substances in animals. The involvement of local society in scientific research is a matter of importance in the Arctic. To contribute sustainable future of Arctic societies, we continue collaboration, conversation and designing research together with the local community.

How to cite: Sugiyama, S. and the ArCS II Coastal Environments Project: Changes in coastal environments and their impact on society in northwestern Greenland, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-3302, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-3302, 2024.

Social dimensions of cryosphere change
14:55–15:05
|
EGU24-17538
|
CR7.5
|
ECS
|
On-site presentation
Rebekka Frøystad, Andreas Born, and Yvette Peters

Glacier retreat changes hydropower production, both by changing melt patterns and seasonality and by revealing new possible reservoirs. This holds potential for expanding the production of hydroelectric power. However, these glaciers are typically situated in valuable nature and protected areas, making the construction of new infrastructure difficult. Mitigating climate change by producing renewable energy therefore comes in conflict with protecting nature.

In this study, we present survey results from the Norwegian Panel of Elected Representatives to investigate how democratically elected politicians approach such trade-offs, the conflict between protecting global climate or local nature. Which arguments drive support or opposition to building a hypothetical hydropower dam? How do they relate to the politicians' personal and political background? Interestingly, we find that politicians that are more concerned about climate change also are more opposed to building new hydropower infrastructure.

In addition, we assess how the physical potential of hydropower will change in Norway under climate change. As a case study, we simulate the surface mass balance of Folgefonna ice cap to the end of the century under a range of climate scenarios. This enables us to quantify how uncertain such future projections are and to what degree we can provide policy makers with reliable information on hydropower potential. Thus, by a multidisciplinary approach, we assess both the physical and political potential for new hydropower due to glacier melt.

How to cite: Frøystad, R., Born, A., and Peters, Y.: Political and physical limits to using formerly glaciated regions for hydropower production, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-17538, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-17538, 2024.

15:05–15:15
|
EGU24-965
|
CR7.5
|
ECS
|
On-site presentation
Annette Salles, Donal Mullan, Matteo Spagnolo, and Gemma Catney

In Canada’s North, winter roads serve as vital lifelines for remote First Nations communities, connecting them to essential resources and services. Constructed over seasonally frozen lakes, rivers, and land, these temporary roads are the only means to transport food, fuel and building materials in large volumes. Winter temperature increases of > 3° C in several provinces have already led to shorter operating seasons and less lake ice thickness, compromising safety, supply, and well-being.

Limited meteorological data, a lack of economic or political relevance and the provincial jurisdiction over winter roads have so far discouraged broader research. The few localised studies leave a large knowledge gap with respect to the historical correlation of climate data with winter road seasons and the ability to predict their future. In addition, scientific studies rarely include the existing traditional environmental knowledge without which the adaptive capacity and resilience potential of Indigenous communities cannot be fully understood and realised.

Using GIS tools to create a map of all Canadian winter road systems, ERA5 data to analyse location-specific temperature trends, and observations of lake ice thickness to validate a one-dimensional lake model as proxy for freezing trends all aim to explore the natural science base. Surveys and extended interviews in a Manitoba First Nations community complement the study in a decolonising approach, following the concept of Two-Eyed Seeing.

Comprehensive mapping shows that most winter road tracks have recently been rerouted to avoid lake surfaces despite the difficult terrestrial underground. Temperature trends are highest in January and vary from +0.4° C in Ontario to +1° C per decade in the Northwest Territories, while modelled ice thickness has decreased between 9% and 14% from 1950 until 2022. Shorter winter road seasons have resulted in food insecurity, educational deprivation, and a housing crisis in many remote First Nations communities, worsened by the intergenerational trauma of residential schools and legislative hurdles to self-determination as defined by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

For Indigenous communities in Canada, cryosphere services are not limited to winter road infrastructure, they include traditional food harvesting, cultural connectivity and identity. Without a profound connection to the land, change observations remain inconsequential, adaptive measures and resilience unobtainable.

How to cite: Salles, A., Mullan, D., Spagnolo, M., and Catney, G.: Resilience and adaptation of First Nations communities in Canada to disappearing winter road infrastructure in a changing climate, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-965, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-965, 2024.

15:15–15:25
|
EGU24-1584
|
CR7.5
|
ECS
|
On-site presentation
Post-glacial politics: the making of a climate opportunity in Switzerland
(withdrawn)
Chloe Baruffa
15:25–15:35
|
EGU24-4300
|
CR7.5
|
ECS
|
On-site presentation
Bo Su, Cunde Xiao, and Deliang Chen

The cryosphere makes significant contributions to human well-being directly or indirectly and materially or spiritually, providing a wide array of benefits, i.e., cryosphere services. However, with the global warming, the diminishing cryosphere would profoundly impact, not only on climate systems, but also its functions and services to support our societies. Although there is a wealth of studies on cryospheric processes and mechanisms, the interaction between the cryosphere and other spheres, and the cryospheric disaster risk, the systematic research on cryosphere services is still in its early stage. There needs to be a more systematic theoretical framework and methodology to enable the valuation and management of cryosphere services. Here, we will systematically present our recent work about the development of theoretical framework and methodology system, as well as related case studies. we first present a classification system based on the current process-based understanding of their nature and sustainability. Then, three different methods (i.e., empirical-based, monetary-based, and emergy-based approaches) for evaluating cryosphere services, are systematically introduced, and illustrated by three case studies. Finally, to adapt to the changing cryosphere services and mitigate risks, we further propose the approach to enhance society’s resilience in the cryosphere. The theoretical framework and methodology system is conducive for conceptualizing, monitoring, assessing and managing cryosphere services, and can help enhance socio-ecological sustainability and human well-being over cryosphere-affected areas.

How to cite: Su, B., Xiao, C., and Chen, D.: A theoretical framework for evaluating cryosphere services, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-4300, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-4300, 2024.

15:35–15:45
|
EGU24-15591
|
CR7.5
|
ECS
|
On-site presentation
Aapo Lundén, Patricia DeRepentigny, Ugo Nanni, Virginija Popovaitė, Yiyi Shen, Ilker K Basaran, Natalia Duarte Neubern, Llucia Mascorda-Cabre, Alec Bennett, Tiril Vold Hansen, Felicity A Holmes, Eleni Kavvatha, Alexandra Meyer, Abhay Prakash, and Aleksandra Wołoszyn

The Arctic is experiencing rapid transformations driven by global warming and increased human activities. These changes have significant implications for the region's established boundaries and the risks tied to its transformation. Here, we investigate the complex dynamics and consequences of contemporary pressure on these boundaries through a socio-environmental perspective. By employing an interdisciplinary and multi-scalar approach, we examine the intricate interconnections between global, regional, and local changes within the Arctic. Our analysis revolves around three spheres: the boundaries historically used to define the Arctic and how recent changes in climate and political interest challenge our perception of the Arctic as a region; the complexity of bio-physical boundaries and jurisdictional disputes surrounding the Svalbard Archipelago; and the relationship between changing natural hazards and societal perception of risk in the town of Longyearbyen. Altogether, we underscore the interplay between policy-based science, science-based policy, and performative behavior in shaping borders and boundaries. In order to avoid crossing tipping points and irreversible limits of human adaptation, we argue for the adoption of a holistic approach that integrates diverse perspectives and scales to effectively manage resources, preserve the environment, mitigate risks, and uphold international relations within and beyond the Arctic. By considering ecological and social factors, our study emphasizes the need for integrated approaches to address time-sensitive challenges surpassing the resilience capacities of local communities and encompassing vast spatial scales extending beyond their usual spheres of influence.

How to cite: Lundén, A., DeRepentigny, P., Nanni, U., Popovaitė, V., Shen, Y., Basaran, I. K., Neubern, N. D., Mascorda-Cabre, L., Bennett, A., Vold Hansen, T., Holmes, F. A., Kavvatha, E., Meyer, A., Prakash, A., and Wołoszyn, A.: Reframing the Arctic: An interdisciplinary and multi-scalar perspective on the divergence of boundaries and risk change in the Anthropocene, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-15591, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-15591, 2024.

Posters on site: Tue, 16 Apr, 16:15–18:00 | Hall X5

The posters scheduled for on-site presentation are only visible in the poster hall in Vienna. If authors uploaded their presentation files, these files are linked from the abstracts below, but only on the day of the poster session.
Display time: Tue, 16 Apr 14:00–Tue, 16 Apr 18:00
Chairpersons: Caroline Clason, Amy Lauren Lovecraft
X5.193
|
EGU24-1270
|
CR7.5
|
ECS
Vishakha Sood, Reet Kamal Tiwari, and Sartajvir Singh

In remote sensing, Artificial Intelligence (AI) plays a significant role in recognizing earth surface objects and features. With the continuous improvement in the resolution of remote sensing sensors, the applicability of AI is also enhancing with the potential of detailed extraction of Earth surface features. The objective of this article is to explore the potential of AI in remote sensing of the cryosphere, which refers to the portions of the Earth's surface where water is in solid form, including ice sheets, glaciers, snow cover, and permafrost. The incorporation of AI in remote sensing allows the improved monitoring and assessment of the dynamics of the cryosphere. Some of the major milestones of AI in remote sensing of the cryosphere are (a) image classification (e.g., Snow/Ice Detection and Glacier Mapping), (b) Change Detection (e.g., Monitoring Ice Melt and Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) Estimation), (c) Automated Data Processing (e.g., preprocessing, and feature extraction), (d) Climate Modeling and Prediction (e.g., Integration with Climate Models and other relevant datasets), (e) Hazard Assessment (e.g., Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) Prediction, snow avalanches, and flash floods), and (f) Data Fusion (e.g., Integration of Multiple Data Sources and Permafrost Thaw Detection). However, these examples are not limited and continuously increasing day by day.

How to cite: Sood, V., Tiwari, R. K., and Singh, S.: Role of Artificial Intelligence in Remote Sensing of Cryosphere, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-1270, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-1270, 2024.

X5.194
|
EGU24-7783
|
CR7.5
|
ECS
Dariusz Sala, Jakub Buda, Giovanni Baccolo, Anna Cwanek, Sylwia Błażej, Roberto Ambrosini, Biagio Di Mauro, and Edyta Łokas

Over the last century, alpine glaciers have melted rapidly. According to current climate models, it is predicted that 80% of these glaciers will likely disappear between the 2060s and the 2080s. The storage of natural and anthropogenic contaminants in these ice masses, which might be released with water, creates a potential threat for communities, especially those closely related to glacierised regions, and the surrounding glacier habitats.

In recent years, cryoconite – a mineral-organic debris that accumulates on the glacier surface - has been the subject of interest due to its ability to accumulate specific substances, surpassing levels found in other terrestrial ecosystems (e.g., proglacial, sediments, soil, lichens, mosses). This phenomenon is attributed to a combination of natural and anthropogenic factors, yet still not well-studied. The majority of artificial radionuclides released into the environment can be attributed to nuclear reactor accidents like Chernobyl (1986) and the stratospheric global fallout.

Our main objective is to comprehensively understand the accumulation of natural (210Pb) and artificial (137Cs, 238,239,240Pu) radioisotopes in cryoconite and identify the different sources of contamination based on isotopic and mass ratios of subject radionuclides. To achieve these objectives, we analysed activity concentrations, their relation with the global and local signals, and their variability between glaciers. Samples were collected from eight glaciers in the European Alps, including the glaciers Blanc, Gries, Mandrone, Pastrze, Preda Rossa, Tsanteleina, Ventina, and Zebrù.

The highest values of 210Pb were found in cryoconite from the Ventina and the Zebrù Glaciers (more than 11,000 Bq kg−1). The lowest values of 210Pb in individual samples (<100 Bq kg−1) were found in the Gries and Mandrone Glaciers. Sediment from the Ventina Glacier had the highest 137Cs activity concentration (up to 12,000 Bq kg−1), while the one from Gries Glacier exhibited the lowest values (4.00 Bq kg−1). The highest activity concentrations of 238Pu (up to 5.0 Bq kg−1) and 239+240Pu (up to 103.0 Bq kg−1) were observed also on the Ventina Glacier. The atomic ratio 240Pu/239Pu and activity ratio 238Pu/239+240Pu showed that the plutonium-related radioactivity from different Alpine glaciers is mostly compatible with global radioactive fallout. On average, more than 88.0% to 97.7% of the Pu found in cryoconite samples are from global fallout. In contrast, the major contribution of 137Cs is identified as the Chernobyl accident. Our observations found a positive correlation between the activity concentrations of studied isotopes and organic matter content.

These results confirm the ability of cryoconite to accumulate radioactivity and show that multiple regional and global sources influence the radioactive signature of Alpine cryoconite. Also, activities in cryoconite are significantly higher than those in the published matrices usually used for the environmental monitoring of radioactivity. Moreover, due to its organic matter content (and the positive correlation of the latter to the amount of the studied radionuclides), cryoconite effectively captures (mostly from atmospheric deposition) and collects the impurities present in meltwater.

How to cite: Sala, D., Buda, J., Baccolo, G., Cwanek, A., Błażej, S., Ambrosini, R., Di Mauro, B., and Łokas, E.: Accumulation of natural and artificial radionuclides in cryoconite holes on Alpine glacial environment, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-7783, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-7783, 2024.

X5.195
|
EGU24-7857
|
CR7.5
|
ECS
|
Kamil Wojciechowski, Jacob Clement Yde, Simon de Villiers, Krzysztof Samolej, Michał Bonczyk, and Edyta Łokas

Glaciers host complex and dynamic microbial ecosystems that are influenced by anthropogenic contaminants and can be regarded, not only as a considerable pollutant repositories, but also as secondary sources of pollutants. Contaminants such as heavy metals and fallout radionuclides are being brought to glaciers by long-range atmospheric transport and then deposited with wet and dry precipitation. Special attention has been given to cryoconite, debris found on glacier surfaces forming granule-shaped aggregates of minerals and organic matter. Cryoconite is known for its potential for exceptionally high accumulation of radioactive isotopes. Accumulated anthropogenic radionuclides, originating from atmospheric nuclear weapon tests and incidents, can be released back into the environment with sediment and meltwater fluxes and as a melt-out during glacier recession, posing a risk to downstream and proglacial ecosystem health. Many factors contribute to the secondary pollutant release, with climate change and glacier recession playing an increasingly important role in recent decades. Mittivakkat Gletsjer, a peripheral glacier located on Ammassalik Island in Southeast Greenland, shows significant volume and area losses, and although being one of Greenland’s most extensively explored glaciers, little is known about the radioactive pollution presence and its possible sources. This is true not only for Mittivakkat Gletsjer but for glaciers in Greenland in general. Cryoconite samples were collected from the glacier surface of Mittivakkat Gletsjer in August 2022 and activity concentrations of 238Pu, 239+240Pu, 241Am, 137Cs and 210Pb were measured (up to 1.44Bq/kg, 28.5Bq/kg, 14.4Bq/kg, 1100Bq/kg, 2900Bq/kg, respectively). Obtained values are higher than other environmental matrices (soils, mosses, lichens) indicating high radionuclide accumulation in cryoconite. Radioactive contamination sources were identified by determining the isotope ratios 238Pu/239+240Pu, 239+240Pu/137Cs and 241Am/239+240Pu (0.0514±0.0071, 0.0251±0.0044, 0.54±0.12). The results suggest that global fallout, an aftermath of atmospheric nuclear weapon tests, is likely the main source of radioactive pollution at Mittivakkat Gletsjer. A two-sources model (global fallout and Chernobyl incident) shows that global fallout is responsible for 92% of plutonium and 62% of cesium in the measured samples. High correlations (r2>0.75) between sample altitude and 238Pu, 239+240Pu, 241Am, 137Cs activity concentrations have been found. Samples collected from higher elevation accumulated more radionuclides, a relationship also observed at other glaciers. The same is not true for 210Pb for which a very weak correlation (r2<0.3) might be explained by constant influx of the nuclide from the atmosphere as it varies depending on rainfall and geographical location. Relationship between organic matter content and radioisotope activity concentrations has been examined, showing stronger correlations for plutonium isotopes (r2>0.7) and weaker for 137Cs and 210Pb (r2<0.65). Higher concentrations in samples with more organic content indicate cryoconite’s capability of binding radionuclides in extracellular polymeric substances. Our study documents radioactive pollution in Southeast Greenland and shows that further research regarding possible risks of environmental contamination through glacier recession and climate change is necessary.

This study was supported by the National Science Centre, Poland under research project No. 2021/43/O/ST10/02428.

How to cite: Wojciechowski, K., Yde, J. C., de Villiers, S., Samolej, K., Bonczyk, M., and Łokas, E.: Radioactive contamination of a peripheral glacier in Southeast Greenland, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-7857, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-7857, 2024.

X5.196
|
EGU24-9850
|
CR7.5
Can Zhang, Bo Su, Shiming Fang, Michael Beckmann, and Martin Volk

Glacier ecosystems play a vital role in providing freshwater resources to humans, in regulating and stabilizing climate, runoff and offering potential for hydropower generation, and in providing unique cultural services for humans. However, few studies have systematically assessed the socio-economic contribution of glaciers, especially from a contributor perspective. To fill this knowledge gap, the aim of this study is to develop an assessment method applied to glacier ESV based on emergy theory. Emergy analysis is a measure that converts all forms of energy into the same unit of comparison, providing a common scale for measuring and comparing all forms of energy. This includes: (1) to develop an emergy-based accounting system and methods for glacier ESV from a donor-side perspective; (2) to evaluate the spatiotemporal characteristics of glacier ecosystem services (ESs) on Tibetan Plateau (TP) during the early 21st century. The results show that: (1) glacier ESs on TP increased from 1.25E+25 sej/yr in the 2000s to 1.28E+25 sej/yr in the 2010s, which is mainly due to the fast growth of provisioning services, although a slow decrease of regulating services is observed during the study period; (2) among the various services, the descending order of value is climate regulation (7.34E+24 sej/yr, 55.65%), hydropower generation (2.73E+24 sej/yr, 20.67%), and freshwater resources (2.68E+24 sej/yr, 20.31%); (3) the spatial characteristics of glacier ESs, where the glacier ESs values in the marginal TP are larger than in endorheic TP; (4) glacier ecosystems are divided in stock and flow, with stock referring to glaciers in the solid state and flow referring to glaciers in the so-called meltwater state. The glacier stock service still dominates in the early 21st century with a small downward trend in the last decade, while the glacier flow service has increased significantly from 2000s to 2010s due to the glacier recession. (5) Except climate regulation and carbon sequestration, all other services values are increasing, especially for tourism and recreation, and knowledge and education, which have shown a rapid growth with the social development. The theory and methodology used here are conducive to enhancing the understanding of material and energy flows within the cryosphere-society system and providing common scales for measuring and comparing different material, energy and monetary flows. Furthermore, this study will help to improve the glacier service assessment system, lay the theoretical and methodological foundation for the development of regional and global glacier service accounting, and provide a scientific basis for glacier resource development and management.

How to cite: Zhang, C., Su, B., Fang, S., Beckmann, M., and Volk, M.: Emergy-based accounting method for glacier ecosystem services valuation (ESV): A case of Tibetan Plateau, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-9850, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-9850, 2024.

X5.197
|
EGU24-13397
|
CR7.5
Amy Lauren Lovecraft and Nicholas Parlato

Globalization is not just a process of technological and economic interconnection but of the symbolic transformation of the geophysical world into social objects. As the planet warms, it has become a thinly-veiled doctrine among the world’s nations and industries that state and market control over and access to the polar regions, and their high mountain counterparts, is a geopolitical and economic imperative. Whether in the Arctic, Antarctic, or the “Third Pole”, human conceptions of the cold are understood as increasingly driven by anthropogenic state changes in the cryosphere itself and by contradictions of the market economy. An approach to accurately grasp the breadth and diversity of human perspectives, uses, and valuations of the cold thus requires deep contextualization and a theoretical approach. In this paper, we propose to synthesize core social findings about the nature of the cryosphere and its changes, centering the knowledge of Indigenous residents, and working outward through other layers of stakeholder groupings and positions.  Broadly, we identify sites of conflict and alignment among stakeholder positions related to permafrost, sea ice, snow, and land ice (e.g. direct users, “downstream” users, state administrators, corporate interests, scientists) to create a comprehensive framework of current services and hazards with flexibility for ongoing changes. We build on the development of the IPBES framework initiative (Diaz et al., 2015), it’s recent future-oriented adaptation (Pereira et al., 2020), and contributions by diverse scholars focused on cryosphere functions and services (Wang et al., 2019). Our effort is conducted to produce a formal space for discussion of the political ecology of coldness and “storying multipolar climes” (Yü and Wouters 2023) with the objective of matching the pace of social environmental change through the development of a multi-epistemic dialectical method of cryosphere inquiry that can inform multiple stakeholders.

How to cite: Lovecraft, A. L. and Parlato, N.: The Political Ecology of the Cryosphere: Theory and Praxis, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-13397, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-13397, 2024.

X5.198
|
EGU24-13881
|
CR7.5
|
ECS
Predicting Future Suitability of Ski Resorts in China by MaxEnt Model
(withdrawn)
Shijin Wang and Rongfang Zhao
X5.199
|
EGU24-20294
|
CR7.5
|
ECS
|
Izabella Baisheva, Birgit Heim, Ramesh Glückler, Amelie Stieg, Kathleen R. Stoof-Leichsenring, Antje Eulenburg, Pier Paul Overduin, Hanno Meyer, Evgenii S. Zakharov, Lena A. Ushnitskaya, Paraskovya V. Davydova, Boris K. Biskaborn, Sardana N. Levina, Ruslan M. Gorodnichev, Jorge García Molinos, Luidmila A. Pestryakova, and Ulrike Herzschuh

Climate is rapidly changing in northern regions, including Central Yakutia, a densely populated area in Siberia. Here, permafrost-thaw lakes in topographical depressions, named “alaas”, are widely distributed. Alaases and the residual lakes within became the traditional home to the indigenous Sakha people, providing critical ecosystem services like fresh water supply, meadows for cattle breeding, or fishing and hunting grounds. Alaas formation is closely related to the Late Glacial and Early Holocene warming, as it was caused by the degradation of permafrost. This makes alaases, and permafrost-thaw lakes in general, highly sensitive to both climatic changes and land use impacts. Global warming is predicted to cause permafrost loss, potentially resulting in new alaas formations and irreversibly changing water quality and biodiversity within the existing alaas lakes. The exact consequences of anthropogenic climate change and land use on these unique landforms are still poorly understood, which may also be a result of lacking data availability.

Here, we present a comprehensive new dataset of limnological characteristics of 66 lakes across Central Yakutia Lowland and the Oymyakon Highlands, with a focus on 51 alaas lakes in Central Yakutia. During field work in summer of 2021, we measured lake physical properties (lake depth, pH, specific conductivity) and afterwards we analyzed lake water hydrochemistry including ions, dissolved organic carbon (DOC), isotopic composition (δ18O H20, δD H20), and aquatic and terrestrial plant composition via surface sediment environmental DNA metabarcoding. The majority of alaas lakes are classified as magnesium-bicarbonate types. Isotope concentrations indicate that lakes in the Central Yakutian Lowlands are controlled mainly by evaporation, underlining their sensitivity to future warming. Aquatic vegetation is dominated by submerged macrophytes, whereas terrestrial vegetation mainly consists of graminoids and forbs. Settlements are mostly situated in connected alaas systems, where flowing water results in lower DOC concentration. This “snapshot” of limnological characteristics can be helpful to assess the most critical factors which may be impacted by land use or respond to future warming.

How to cite: Baisheva, I., Heim, B., Glückler, R., Stieg, A., Stoof-Leichsenring, K. R., Eulenburg, A., Overduin, P. P., Meyer, H., Zakharov, E. S., Ushnitskaya, L. A., Davydova, P. V., Biskaborn, B. K., Levina, S. N., Gorodnichev, R. M., Molinos, J. G., Pestryakova, L. A., and Herzschuh, U.: Limnological assessment of 51 climate-sensitive permafrost-thaw lakes in Central Yakutia, Siberia, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-20294, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-20294, 2024.

X5.200
|
EGU24-20388
|
CR7.5
Christoph Keuschnig, Christopher B. Trivedi, Helen K. Feord, Rey Mourot, Athanasios Zervas, Marie Bolander Jensen, Katie Sipes, Laura Perini, Martyn Tranter, Alexandre M. Anesio, and Liane G. Benning

Aerobic anoxygenic photosystems, identified within specific bacterial clades, have been described recently as pivotal components influencing the carbon cycle in ocean surface waters. These pigmented bacteria exhibit diverse life strategies, transitioning from anaerobic habitats, such as the sulfur cycle in purple sulfur bacteria, to harnessing sunlight for enhanced carbon assimilation efficiency through aerobic anoxygenic photosynthesis. Remarkably, these microbial entities have been found across varied environments, including soil, rivers, hypersaline waters, and thermal springs.

In cryospheric habitats like snow and ice, phototrophic organisms are predominantly represented by eukaryotic green algae, with Cyanobacteria confined to cryoconite habitats. However, bacterial phototrophy in these environments remains poorly understood. While recent studies have described anoxygenic phototrophy in ice samples, the ecological roles of these organisms remain elusive. In this study, we hypothesize that the ice surface and cryoconites provide suitable habitats for widespread  aerobic and anaerobic anoxygenic photosynthesis.

Metagenomic analysis was performed on 21 samples collected from three distinct locations in east and south Greenland, representing sub-habitats of surface ice, snow, and cryoconites. Anoxygenic photosystem II genes were identified in 9 metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs), primarily associated with surface ice and cryoconites, with no detection in the summer snowpack. Interestingly, three of these MAGs lacked genes for carbon fixation, a characteristic feature observed in aerobic anoxygenic phototrophs. Detection of the SOX complex in specific MAGs suggested a potential role in anaerobic photosynthetic reactions. The diverse phototrophic lifestyles did not exhibit clear associations with specific sub-habitats, although the majority of MAGs exhibited higher coverage in cryoconite samples, where anoxic microlayers are known to exist. A comprehensive meta-analysis utilizing 2000  metagenomes from various environments across the globe revealed that the identified MAGs from the GrIS are unique to cryospheric habitats.

Our findings indicate the development of distinct bacterial photosynthetic lifestyles in glacial habitats within Arctic regions. This raises intriguing questions about the ecological roles of these microorganisms in cryoconites, where they coexist with cyanobacteria, and on glacial surface ice, where they may play a crucial role in the carbon cycle akin to their contributions surface water blooms in the ocean. Our findings suggest that the observed global biological darkening of ice surfaces may be influenced by a complex microbial community comprising pigmented bacteria alongside cryospheric algae. This interaction ultimately contributes to increased runoff from glacier surfaces, driven by the resulting increase in albedo.

How to cite: Keuschnig, C., Trivedi, C. B., Feord, H. K., Mourot, R., Zervas, A., Bolander Jensen, M., Sipes, K., Perini, L., Tranter, M., Anesio, A. M., and Benning, L. G.: Distinct anoxygenic phototrophic lifestyles on the Greenland Ice Sheet expand the light harvesting community during microbial summer blooms on ice surfaces, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-20388, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu24-20388, 2024.