Posts Tagged ‘Fox Glacier’

New Zealand’s glaciers

06/05/2009

New Zealand glacier findings upset climate theory

Mt. Brewster Glacier, Image:R.Richards

Mt. Brewster Glacier, Image:R.Richards

Research by three New Zealand scientists may have solved the mystery of why glaciers behave differently in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Geologist David Barrell of GNS Science, Victoria University geomorphologist Andrew Mackintosh and glaciologist Trevor Chinn of the Alpine and Polar Processes Consultancy have helped provide definitive dating for changes in glacier behaviour. They were part of a team of nine scientists, led by Joerg Schaefer of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University in New York, who used an isotope-dating technique to get very precise ages for glacial deposits near Mt Cook.

Mt. Brewster, glacier's tongue

Mt. Brewster, glacier's tongue

They measured the build-up of beryllium-10 isotopes in surface rocks bombarded by cosmic rays to pinpoint dates when glaciers in the Southern Alps started to recede. The technology is expected to be widely applied to precisely date other glaciers around the world. Glaciers are sensitive indicators of climate changes, usually advancing when it cools and retreating when it warms. The first direct confirmation of differences in glacier behaviour between the (more…)