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Mountain Talk #1


Keeping the mountains in one piece: how thawing permafrost and melting glaciers are changing the face of high mountains and bringing new risks for mountaineering.

This webinar in April 2021 featured two talks from leading scientists in the field of glacial change and permafrost research. The emphasis was on understanding current and future changes and what this means for the mountaineering community. Further information on the speakers and their backgrounds can be found below:

Mountain permafrost: an invisible threat for mountaineers? with Florence Magnin

Permafrost (permanently frozen ground) is an invisible feature, yet it covers a substantially larger extent than glaciers in mountain areas. In 2003, a heatwave struck Europe and researchers observed a significant increase of the number of rockfalls across the Alps. Since then, research has focused on mapping the distribution of rock wall permafrost and trying to assess its recent and future evolution in various mountain ranges.

In this talk, Florence will introduce some basic concepts and knowledge about mountain permafrost, where it can be found, how it evolves, how the thawing of mountain permafrost may threaten mountaineering practices, and some the recent developments to assess the risks associated with its evolution.

About the speaker

Florence has a PhD in Physical Geography, which she defended in 2015. She is now a researcher at the University Savoie Mont Blanc (EDYTEM-CNRS), working on steep slope permafrost, assessing its distribution, its evolution and its role in rock slope failures such as rockfalls and rock avalanches. Her main research laboratory is the French Alps and she has also conducted research in Norway, Svalbard and the Pyrenees. She is also involved in projects in Peru, Greenland and Iceland.

A global tour of glacial change and its impact on society with Lindsey Nicholson

Mountain glaciers all over the world are diminishing in response to ongoing climate change. Not only does this have profound impacts on the visual landscapes of mountain regions but also on regional water resources, ecosystems, and glacier-related hazards.

In this talk, Lindsey will explain how scientists understand past and projected glacier change, discuss some causes of regional and glacier-to-glacier differences in how glaciers change is response to climate conditions, and highlight some of the societally-relevant impacts of glacier change using some case studies.

About the speaker

A love and respect for remote mountain regions led Lindsey to a career in glaciology. Now based at the University of Innsbruck, she has experience of working on glaciers in the Canadian and Norwegian Arctic, Nepalese Himalaya, Chilean and Peruvian Andes and east Africa. Her research is focussed on understanding the response of glaciers to climate change.

Status: Completed

Type: Mountains Outlook

Year of publication:

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