ESA astronaut joins glacier expedition in Alps


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23/08/2021
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From house, the synchronous retreat of the world’s glaciers may be clearly noticed. To get a first-hand view of those modifications, ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano, together with Susanne Mecklenburg, Head of ESA’s Climate Office, have joined a science expedition happening at one of many greatest ice lots in the Alps: the Gorner Glacier.

The pair accompany a scientific workforce that’s documenting how the glacier is altering in response to international warming. Situated close to the Monte Rosa massif near Zermatt, Switzerland, the Gorner Glacier is likely one of the most extensively studied glaciers in the world. Its entrance has been retreating drastically because the finish of the 19th century, and in the previous couple of years, its retreat has been accelerating.According to Susanne: “Gorner is one of only a few hundred of the world’s 215 000 glaciers that are regularly monitored in the field. Observations from satellites, including missions such as Copernicus Sentinel-2, provide complementary information and contribute substantially to their monitoring.”

Historic define of the Gorner Glacier and surrounding space

Spanning many years, space-based observations have contributed to the most recent scientific evaluation of the local weather, together with modifications happening the world over’s glaciers. The first installment of the 2021 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report launched earlier this month makes for bleak studying. The report states that worldwide glacier ice losses because the second half of the 19th century have been unprecedented in no less than the final 2000 years.Data information, utilizing satellite tv for pc observations, additionally level to an elevated fee of ice loss because the 1990s with glacial meltwaters thought-about a dominant contributor to international imply sea degree rise from 2006-2018.The long-term remark datasets that present scientific proof for key facets of the local weather – together with glaciers – are generated by way of ESA’s Climate Change Initiative (CCI), utilizing information from a variety of satellites.The CCI’s glacier venture analysis workforce present international extent, elevation change and velocity satellite-derived merchandise that type necessary baseline information for change evaluation to higher perceive glacier response to local weather change.

Pennine Alps

Recent satellite-based assessments for a subset of the world’s glaciers revealed in current years that glaciers misplaced over 9 trillion tonnes of ice between 1961 and 2016, whereas a extra current international evaluation confirms this pattern with higher certainty and spatial protection.Luca Parmitano commented, “When we look at the Gorner Glacier now, we already see the past, not the present. What we see will not be here in a few years from now because it’s already disappearing. The temperature changes that we are currently facing have already affected this glacier in a way that will never go back.“This is an incredibly sad story, but it must be the starting point for us to raise awareness and take responsibility in order to slow down climate change.”The ESA-led expedition is being filmed for an upcoming documentary forward of the Pre-COP Milan on the finish of September and the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) happening in Glasgow, Scotland from 31 October to 12 November 2021.Stay tuned and sustain with the most recent Earth remark information by following ESA Earth remark on Twitter and Instagram.

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