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Next IUGG General Assembly Montreal, Canada
(July 8-19, 2019)

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IACS symposia

   

C01 GLIMS and the Randolph Glacier Inventory: where Do We Go from Here?

Convener: Frank Paul (Zurich, Switzerland)

Co-conveners: Graham Cogley (Peterborough, Canada), Regine Hock (Fairbanks, USA), Bruce Raup (Boulder, USA), Sabine Baumann (Munich, Germany)

Description

The newly compiled Randolph Glacier Inventory (RGI) is a globally complete digital dataset of glacier outlines supplemented by a number of glacier attributes. Several recent studies, which were used in the latest IPCC Report (AR5) to assess cryospheric change and projected sea-level rise, relied on the RGI. The rapidly growing interest of the glaciological community in the RGI, apparent shortcomings in some regions and rapid changes in glacier geometry all emphasize the need to improve and update the dataset. As the Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) database is designed for such updates, the ultimate goal is to integrate the RGI dataset into GLIMS.
This symposium aims at bringing together data producers (e.g. those deriving glacier outlines) and data users (e.g. those applying the dataset in their models) to encourage a dialog between them and ensure that user needs can be met most efficiently. We solicit contributions regarding both strategies and techniques of further development and improvement of the RGI and the GLIMS database as well as studies using these data to determine and project regional/global-scale glacier attributes and changes.

List of solicited speakers

Jeff Kargel (Tucson, USA), Matthias Huss (Fribourg, Switzerland)

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C02 Advances in Estimating and Measuring Glacier Ice Thicknesses

Convener: Daniel Farinotti (Birmensdorf, Switzerland) 

Co-conveners: Matthias Huss (Zurich, Switzerland), Huilin Li (Lanzhou, China), Mathieu Morlighem (Irvine, USA)

Description

Determining the ice thickness distribution of a given glacier is amongst the oldest tasks in glaciology. Nevertheless, the ice thickness of the majority of worlds’ ice masses remains unknown, thus inducing significant uncertainties in for example, attempts to (1) calculate the global glacier contribution to sea level change, (2) understand the feedback mechanisms between outlet glaciers and ice shelves, or (3) predict the future share of glacier melt to water availability in different regions. Recently, significant progress has been made in numerical methods that aim at inferring the ice thickness distribution of glaciers from their surface characteristics. Similarly, there have been substantial developments in techniques that measure glacier ice thickness from both ground-based and airborne platforms. This symposium aims at providing an overview of the recent achievements in the characterisation of the ice thickness of glaciers in different regions around the globe. We invite speakers to provide both model- and measurement-based contributions in a symposium that will address both polar ice masses and mountain glaciers.

List of solicited speakers

Kenichi Matsuoka (Tromsø, Norway), Michael Zemp (Zurich, Switzerland)

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C03 Glacier Monitoring from In-Situ and Remotely Sensed Observations

Convener: Michael Zemp (Zurich, Switzerland)

Co-conveners: Frank Paul (Zurich, Switzerland), Bruce Raup (Boulder, USA), Cecilie Rolstad Denby (Ås, Norway)

Description

Understanding glacial processes is key to assessing the sensitivity of glacier systems to changing climate. An important basis for large-scale assessments is a comprehensive glacier inventory. Glaciers are monitored on different spatio-temporal scales, from extensive seasonal mass balance studies at selected glaciers to multi-decadal repeat inventories over entire mountain ranges. Internationally coordinated glacier monitoring aims at combining in-situ measurement with remotely sensed data, and local process understanding with global coverage. Bringing together studies from the tropics to polar regions as well as from different disciplines, this symposium includes presentations on both in-situ and remotely sensed monitoring of glaciers, and on related uncertainty assessments.

List of solicited speakers

Martin Hoelzle (Fribourg, Switzerland), Huilin Li (Lanzhou, China)

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C04 Modelling of Mountain Glaciers, Past and Future

Convener: Ben Marzeion (Innsbruck, Austria)

Co-convener: Andrew Mackintosh (Wellington, New Zealand), Joseph Shea (Kathmandu, Nepal)

Description

Glaciers are prominent features of high mountain landscapes around the world, and shrinking glaciers have become icons of anthropogenic climate change. Loosing mass during most of the 20th century, glaciers have contributed significantly to sea level rise and will continue to be important contributors during the 21st century. They are important regulators of seasonal water availability in many regions, and both growing and shrinking glaciers may cause geohazards. For all these reasons, it is essential to develop an understanding of the glaciers’ response to climate variability and change on local to global scales. Field observations of glaciers are resource-intensive, scarce, and globally very unevenly distributed with respect to the distribution of the glaciers; observations from remote sensing are available on global scales, but limited to relatively short time periods. Because of this, models have become indispensable tools for glaciologists.
In this symposium we invite contributions from glacier modeling, be it of the surface mass and energy balance, ice dynamics, or hydrological processes; covering spatial scales from individual glaciers to global; and considering temporal scales from sub-seasonal to centennial (both considering reconstructions and projections).

List of solicited speakers

Brian Menounos (Prince George, Canada), Shawn Marshall (Calgary, Canada)

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C05 Impacts of Dust and Black Carbon on Snow and Glaciers

Convener: Ramesh Singh (Orange, USA)

Co-conveners: Maria Shahgedanova (Reading, U.K.), Teruo Aoki (Tsukuba, Japan)

Description

The shrinkage of snowpack and glaciers around the world and its acceleration in the recent decades have been confirmed by satellite and ground-based measurements. While the observed climatic warming is the main factor driving these changes, processes affecting the state of snow pack and glacier surface make important contributions. In particular, deposition of mineral dust and black carbon and associated changes in surface reflectance have recently emerged as factors accelerating snow and glacier melt. Emissions of mineral dust from arid regions are projected to increase due to changes in land use and land cover. Strong increase in anthropogenic emissions of black carbon has been observed in Asia in recent years with impacts on the main glaciated regions of the world. In this symposium, oral and poster presentations are invited examining impacts of mineral dust, black carbon and other light-absorbing impurities on snow and glaciers around the world through the use of remote sensing, field observations and modelling.

List of solicited speakers

Tom Painter (Pasadena, USA), Nozomu Takeuchi (Chiba, Japan)

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C06 Ice Sheet and Ocean Interactions on Multiple Scales

Convener: Ben Galton-Fenzi (Hobart, Australia)

Co-conveners: Olga Sergienko (Princeton, USA), Gaël Durand (Grenoble, France), Paul Holland (Cambridge, U.K.), Stefanie Mack (Norfolk, USA)

Description

One of the largest uncertainties in projections of future sea level is in the contribution from ice sheets. Processes occurring at the ice/ocean boundary exert an important control on ice sheet mass budgets. These processes typically involve complex interactions between ice and oceans across a range of temporal and spatial scales. This symposium invites model-based, both in-situ and remote sensing observational as well as synthesis studies focussed on understanding the processes and feedbacks between ice sheets and the oceans. We are also interested in studies focussed on developing parameterisations and incorporating important ice sheet/ocean processes in models, including coupled modelling. The symposium will complement and continue Union Symposium U10 by providing a forum for wider presentations on the many aspects of this important topic.

This symposium is co-sponsored by IAPSO.

List of solicited speakers

Xylar Asay-Davis (Potsdam, Germany)

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C07 Understanding Linkages between Different “Elements” of the High-Latitude Cryosphere

Convener: Rob Massom (Hobart, Australia)

Co-convener: Ian Allison (Hobart, Australia), Cristina Surdu (Waterloo, Canada)

Description

Major change is occurring across the high-latitude cryosphere of both polar regions, yet little is known about the inter-relationships between the different component “elements” of the cryosphere and how change in one may affect others. Tantalising recent studies suggest that these linkages may be complex and involve subtle and previously-unconsidered feedbacks. In this symposium, we invite contributions from any area of Arctic and Antarctic cryospheric science which is investigating linkages between different cryospheric elements i.e., sea ice, ice sheet/glaciers, icebergs, snow and permafrost (connected by oceanic and atmospheric processes). We are interested in both observational analyses and model studies. The aim is to promote and foster cross-disciplinary engagement and to give momentum to this potentially-important new line of research. This topic forms a new “targeted activity” of the WCRP CliC (Climate and Cryosphere) Project (http://www.climate-cryosphere.org/). As defined by CliC, a targeted activity is a focussed 3- to 5-year research activity designed to increase understanding of the relationship between climate and cryosphere.

This symposium is co-sponsored by CliC (Climate and Cryosphere, World Climate Research Programme).

List of solicited speakers

Ted Scambos (Boulder, USA)

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C08 Ice Cores and Climate

Convener: Eric Wolff (Cambridge, U.K.)

Co-conveners: Margit Schwikowski (Villigen, Switzerland), Kumiko Goto-Azuma (Tokyo, Japan), Valérie Masson-Delmotte (Gif sur Yvette, France)

Description

Ice cores are providing unique physical insight into climate change on timescales from seasonal up to several glacial cycles. Their strength is that information about climate forcing factors and the response of many climatic variables is recorded in the same core. At the shorter timescales ice cores deliver records of recent variability and trends and about modes that imprint on ice records. At longer timescales, they provide, for example, insight into the connections between greenhouse gases and glacial cycles, and the interhemispheric patterns associated with abrupt climate changes. Ice cores are available not only from the large polar ice caps of Greenland and Antarctica, but also from high elevation glaciers in the mid and low latitudes. In this symposium we welcome presentations related to ice cores from all locations. While the primary product is reconstructions of climate and environment, we also welcome contributions to supporting aspects such as ice core chronologies and interpretation of proxies, as well as studies that combine ice cores with data from other palaeoclimate archives, or that use ice core data together with climate models.

List of solicited speakers

Christo Buizert (Corvallis, USA), Thomas Blunier (Copenhagen, Denmark)

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C09 Water Stable Isotopes as Tools to Elucidate Atmosphere, Hydrosphere and Cryosphere Interactions

Convener: Valérie Masson-Delmotte (Gif sur Yvette, France)

Co-convener: Hans-Christian Steen-Larsen (Copenhagen, Denmark)

Description

Water stable isotopes provide powerful tools to quantify processes related with moisture fluxes between the atmosphere and the biosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere, as well as processes associated with cloud and precipitation formation, and moisture exchanges between the boundary layer and the free atmosphere. Classical measurements performed on liquid and solid samples are now complemented by remote sensing data as well as in situ water vapour monitoring thanks to recent development in isotope spectroscopy analyzers. Such measurements therefore constitute a comprehensive framework to understand the mechanisms by which atmospheric signals are formed and subsequently recorded in ice cores. Field and laboratory experiments also provide detailed studies of specific processes. They open new perspectives in direct comparisons between observations and simulations performed with general or regional atmospheric circulation models, as well as snow-atmosphere models, which incorporate the explicit modelling of water stable isotopes, with the aim to identify model caveats and improve physical parameterizations. On the analytical side, this field is progressing with instrument performance and standardized measurement protocols. We encourage here contributions in relation to water vapor isotope measurement techniques, observations, model developments and modeling, with a focus on atmosphere, hydrosphere and cryosphere interactions.

List of solicited speakers

Max Berkelhammer (Chicago, USA)

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C10 Air-Ice Chemical Interaction

Convener: Hans-Werner Jacobi (Grenoble, France)

Co-convener: Thorsten Bartels-Rausch (Villigen, Switzerland)

Description

The cryosphere plays an active role in Earth’s biogeochemical cycles. Physical, chemical, and biological processes in snow and ice in alpine and Polar regions have been shown to cause vivid fluxes between atmosphere, cryosphere, soil, and ocean. These fluxes can contribute to the accumulation, production, or modification of certain globally transported contaminants and greenhouse gases, but also of reactive trace compounds. This symposium focuses on the chemical and biological activity in snow and ice and how these processes can impact other compartments like the atmosphere, soil, or ocean. We invite presentations on field, laboratory, and modelling studies identifying important processes and deepening our understanding of the role of the multi-phase matrix of ice and snow in such processes. The focus may range from the molecular scale identifying significant mechanisms to the local scale dealing with fluxes in isolated, well controlled experiments, but also to the regional and global scale addressed in field studies and using global transport models. Contributions regarding recent advances in model parameterization and application and the evaluation of the impact on atmospheric composition, climate, and ice core proxies useful for paleo-climate reconstruction are especially encouraged.

List of solicited speakers

Katarina Abrahamsson (Göteborg, Sweden), Patrick Ayotte (Sherbrooke, Canada)

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C11 Climate Downscaling for Modelling Glacier Mass Balance

Convener: Shawn Marshall (Calgary, Canada)

Co-convener: Valentina Radic (Vancouver, Canada), Marlis Hofer (Innsbruck, Austria)

Description

Glacier response to historical climate variability and future climate change is of tremendous interest with respect to mountain geomorphology, regional water resources, and global sea level. Simulation of glacier mass balance fields at regional to global scales remains challenging, however. Process-based approaches require distributed models of snow accumulation and surface energy balance fields (i.e., radiation, temperature, wind, and humidity), typically in regions of complex topography with sparse observational data. For mountain glaciers and polar icefields, these meteorological fields need to be known at resolutions of order 100s of metres, a level of detail that is challenging for both statistical and dynamical approaches to climate downscaling. This symposium invites contributions that explore new strategies for regional- to global-scale modelling of glacier mass balance. We encourage contributions from different approaches that inform distributed models of glacier mass balance, including statistical downscaling methods, regional climate modelling, field-based insights, and remote sensing measurements. Can regional climate models adequately simulate snow accumulation patterns and surface energy balance fields in mountain and polar regions? What regional-scale datasets are available to constrain this? If downscaling is necessary from climate reanalyses or climate model projections, what statistical or physically-based downscaling strategies are able to conserve energy and mass in the coupled cryosphere-atmosphere system? Are feedbacks to the atmospheric system (i.e. two-way coupling) important in future projections of glacier change? This symposium aims for an open discussion of these challenges in modelling glacier mass balance and glacier response to climate change.

List of solicited speakers

Tobias Sauter (Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany), Emily Collier (Utrecht, The Netherlands)

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C12 Coupling Processes between the Atmospheric Boundary-Layer and Snow/Ice Surfaces: Observations and Modelling

Convener: Rebecca Mott (Davos, Switzerland)

Co-conveners: Ruzica Dadic (Wellington, New Zealand), Vincent Vionnet (Grenoble, France), Michael Lehning (Lausanne/Davos, Switzerland)

Description

The symposium addresses fundamental exchange mechanisms between the cryosphere and the atmospheric boundary layer in snow-covered regions. The interaction between the near-surface atmosphere and the cryosphere can lead to significant spatial and temporal variations of momentum, mass- and energy exchange as well as complex atmospheric flow patterns. These processes strongly affect the temporal and spatial evolution of seasonal snow cover, permafrost, sea ice, vegetation or glacier melt. Furthermore, the continuous change of the snow/ice surface in time and feedbacks between the surface and the atmosphere have a very strong influence on the boundary layer, which is insufficiently understood and makes the problem of describing the joint atmosphere – cryosphere development one of the more challenging but worthwhile questions to address.
We invite contributions that consider boundary-layer meteorology, turbulent energy fluxes and mass exchanges in cryospheric environments. Examples include the treatment of turbulent fluxes in models and measurements, orographically-induced precipitation or wind-induced snow transport and sublimation. Both, model studies and experimental work are welcome. We particularly encourage abstracts that propose advances in a) modelling techniques to represent the physics of coupling the atmospheric boundary layer to snow and ice surfaces and b) observational techniques to explore complex processes that govern the mass and energy exchange between the lower boundary layer and the snow/ice surface.

List of solicited speakers

Adam Winstral (Boise, USA), Eric Bazile (Toulouse, France)

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C13 Open Mountain Cryosphere Symposium

Convener: Martin Hoelzle (Fribourg, Switzerland)

Co-convener: Marcia Phillips (Davos, Switzerland)

Description

The mountain cryosphere includes important elements of the earth system such as snow cover, glaciers, permafrost, seasonally frozen ground, and lake- or river ice. These are undergoing rapid change, which will have long-term consequences for present and future generations.
Melting glaciers and ice caps are influencing global sea level and threatening many heavily populated coastal regions. The worldwide retreat of mountain glaciers is affecting water discharge and consequently, sustainable agriculture and energy production. Changing patterns in snow distribution are causing problems regarding water resources and the sustainability of winter alpine tourism. The degradation of mountain permafrost is destabilizing slopes and jeopardizing sensitive mountain infrastructure. In the face of these challenges, the resilience of mountain communities and widespread underlying regions is being tested. It is therefore essential to improve the understanding of cryospheric processes in mountains, their short-term fluctuations and their long-term evolution in interaction with the changing climate.
Contributions in any mountain cryosphere topic dealing with field measurements, modelling or impacts are highly welcome.

This symposium is co-sponsored by the IPA (International Permafrost Association).

List of solicited speakers

Katrin Sattler (Wellington, New Zealand), Michael Lehning (Davos, Switzerland)

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C14 Snow: Physical Properties and Impact on the Cryosphere

Convener: Henning Löwe (Davos, Switzerland)

Co-convener: Martin Schneebeli (Davos, Switzerland)

Description

Snow constitutes an important sub-component within all disciplines of cryospheric sciences such as ice sheets, glaciers, sea ice, permafrost or seasonal snow covers. In each discipline snow and snow-cover processes are mainly treated from an application-oriented perspective rather than being addressed from a cross-disciplinary, process-oriented viewpoint. This often impedes an efficient exchange of relevant concepts and methods for physical and chemical processes in snow, which are often related to similar questions concerning stratigraphy and the fact that snow is a porous material made of ice. The symposium therefore aims at cross-disciplinary discussion of snow processes without losing sight of their impact on different cryospheric disciplines. We welcome contributions for physical and chemical processes in snow irrespective of their topical embedding. Topics include, but are not limited to crystal growth, snow metamorphism, heat transport, gas and liquid flow, snow chemistry, snow mechanics and electromagnetic properties.

List of solicited speakers

Liz Morris (Cambridge, U.K.), Florent Domine (Québec, Canada)

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C15 Cryosphere, Atmosphere and Climate: Evaluation of the Cryosphere in CMIP5 Models

Convener: Alexandra Jahn (Boulder, USA)

Co-convener: Gerhard Krinner (Grenoble, France), François Massonnetas (Louvain, Belgium)

Description

The Fifth Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) provides a large multi-model ensemble of historical simulations, idealized experiments, and future projections that were used extensively in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report. Although some initial evaluation of the ability of the CMIP5 models to simulate aspects of the cryosphere was undertaken in Chapter 9 of the IPCC report, more in-depth evaluation remains to be done. This symposium invites contributions in which cryosphere components (sea-ice, snow, ice sheets, permafrost, etc) in CMIP5 models are evaluated by comparison to a range of in-situ and remotely-sensed data. Novel evaluation approaches, in which important physical processes are identified and probed, are particularly welcome, as are contributions to understanding the link between model quality (as evaluated by comparison to historical observations) and confidence in model predictions on seasonal to interannual time scales, and in model projections of longer-term future climate. Careful evaluation of model biases and shortcomings also helps guide ongoing model development through the identification of processes or feedbacks that are not well represented. Therefore, this symposium also invites contributions in which model evaluation is applied to understanding shortcomings in the representation of cryospheric processes and linking these to improvements that have or could be made.

This symposium is co-sponsored by CliC (Climate and Cryosphere, World Climate Research Programme).

List of solicited speakers

Dirk Notz (Hamburg, Germany), Charles Koven (Berkeley, USA)

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C16 Cryosphere, Atmosphere and Climate: The Cryosphere and Polar Amplification of Climate

Convener: Ted Shepherd (Reading, U.K.)

Co-convener: Ed Hanna (Sheffield, U.K.), Amna Jrrar (Abu Dhabi, UAE)

Description

Global climate and Earth System models consistently show that high latitudes, particularly northern high latitudes, warm more rapidly than the rest of the planet under the influence of increasing greenhouse gases. Feedbacks involving the cryosphere, particularly snow and sea ice, are generally implicated in this so-called polar amplification of climate change; however other factors such as feedbacks involving water vapour or heat transport have also been suggested. This symposium invites contributions in which the role of the cryosphere in high-latitude amplification of climate change (or variability) is explored. The contrast between observed and projected high-latitude climate change in northern and southern polar regions is also of interest, and so contributions comparing the mechanisms affecting feedback strength in the Arctic and Antarctic are also welcome. Polar amplification is of interest not only in the context of regional climate change, and the disproportionate warming that will be experienced by residents of northern high latitudes, but also as a contribution to global climate sensitivity since the processes involved in polar amplification act to amplify global climate change.

This symposium is co-sponsored by CliC (Climate and Cryosphere, World Climate Research Programme).

List of solicited speakers

Jim Overland (Seattle, USA), Felix Pithan (Hamburg, Germany)

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C17 Challenges in Cryospheric Sciences: Past, Present and Future

Convener: Charles Fierz (Davos, Switzerland)

Co-conveners: Andrew Mackintosh (Wellington, New Zealand), Ian Allison (Hobart, Australia), Mark Carey (Eugene, USA), Christie Logvinova (Worchester, USA)

Description

Cryospheric sciences will increasingly face challenges to meet society's demands for explanation and better understanding of the processes and modifications associated with a changing climate. At the same time, increasingly sophisticated experimental methods and instrumentation, enabling more precise results, and state-of-the-art modeling will help improve our understanding of process, at scales from small (μm) to very large (103 km), and to project future changes. This symposium, organized by the IACS Bureau as a community brainstorming, aims at unveiling the key scientific questions that will attract the curiosity of cryospheric scientists now and in the near future in the fields of snow and ice physics, ice sheet, glacier and sea ice research, climate and cryosphere linkages, and natural hazards linked to the cryosphere. We also solicit abstracts that examine the development of cryospheric sciences from an historical perspective, which help to clarify how we arrived our current set of scientific questions. IACS Bureau members will introduce the emerging results in some of these fields, and the cryospheric scientific community is invited to contribute to the discussion by identifying the next generation of important scientific questions and challenges, and proposing ways to work towards a better coordination of efforts and resources.

This symposium is co-sponsored by the IUGG Working Group on History.

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