Snow and Ice Collection
from high altitudes (above 12, 000 feet) worldwide and polar expeditions
Mountain glaciers are rapidly melting around the world. The highest documented glacier thinning in the world is occurring at 6000 meters (20,000 feet) above sea level. Mountains are essentially high altitude water towers, and store freshwater that provides the source of many of the world's major rivers. The aim of this study is to investigate the extent of this high altitude melt. Samples collected for this project will be used to answer questions such as: 1) Are glaciers thinning even above 20,000 feet? 2) What is the spatial extent of this thinning? 3) Is this thinning occurring in areas that are headwaters of rivers? These samples will provide essential ground truth for high altitude glacier thinning. Biomass burning emits up to 50% as much carbon dioxide as fossil fuel burning and is therefore likely to affect future climate change. Biomass burning aerosols are major constituents of continental-scale smog clouds and heat the atmosphere. However, such aerosols are among the least understood aspects of the climate system. The scientist would like to collect as many polar snow samples as possible to have a better idea of the spatial distribution of these aerosols and other organic pollutants.
How will this data be used?
The data will be used in scientific publications. This information can be used to help in calculations of freshwater availability and associated water use planning.
How Can You Participate?
Volunteers can provide snow samples from high altitude mountain glaciers or polar regions. The high altitude samples will be used to quantify mountain glacier thinning. The polar snow samples will be used to determine what organic pollutants are reaching polar regions.