Special Issue "The Nexus of Alpine Glacier Watersheds, Climate Change and Human Activity"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Resources Management and Governance".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (29 November 2018).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Mauri Pelto
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Environmental Science, Nichols College, 129 Center Road Dudley, MA 01571, USA
Interests: glaciers; global warming; cryosphere
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

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Dear Colleagues,

Alpine glacier watersheds are changing significantly, this is not happening at a “glacial” pace, and the regional impacts are profound. The rapid decline of alpine glacier area and volume is a consistent trend from mountain range to mountain range, emphasizing that though regional climate and glacier response differ, global changes are driving the response. The trend of glacier loss is expected to increase with continued anthropogenic warming further altering the timing and magnitude of glacier runoff. Mountain glaciers are important as water resources for agriculture, hydropower, aquatic life and municipal water supply, melting fastest in the summer when precipitation is lowest and water demand from society is largest. The specific cascade of impacts downstream varies between glacier fed watersheds. The goal of this Special Issue is to examine the nexus of alpine glacier runoff change, driven by climate change, and the impact on human activity and ecologic systems in specific watersheds. The level of details that can be conveyed for watershed level change is important and is obscured in regional or global scale papers. Papers are sought that identify the impacts for specific glacier watersheds including changes in erosion rates, nutrient flux, aquatic life, local ecology, water runoff, and flood hazards. Each papers should include impacts on specific communities in alpine regions and beyond that depend on glacier runoff for drinking water supply, fisheries, irrigation, hydropower, and recreation. At the end of the Introduction section we recommend a 300 word plain language section story based summary, without references.

Prof. Dr. Mauri Pelto
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • glacier recession
  • hydropower
  • alpine glaciers
  • glacier runoff
  • alpine aquatic ecology

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Relevance and Scale Dependence of Hydrological Changes in Glacierized Catchments: Insights from Historical Data Series in the Eastern Italian Alps
Water 2019, 11(1), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11010089 - 08 Jan 2019
Abstract
Glaciers have an important hydrological buffering effect, but their current rapid reduction raises concerns about future water availability and management. This work presents a hydrological sensitivity analysis to different climatic and glacier cover conditions, carried out over four catchments with area between 8 [...] Read more.
Glaciers have an important hydrological buffering effect, but their current rapid reduction raises concerns about future water availability and management. This work presents a hydrological sensitivity analysis to different climatic and glacier cover conditions, carried out over four catchments with area between 8 and 1050 km2, and with glacierization between 2% and 70%, in the Italian Alps. The analysis is based on past observations, and exploits a unique dataset of glacier change and hydro-meteorological data. The working approach is aimed at avoiding uncertainties typical of future runoff projections in glacierized catchments. The results highlight a transition from glacial to nival hydrological regime, with the highest impacts in August runoff over smaller catchments. The buffering effect of current glaciers has largely decreased if compared to the Little Ice Age, up to 75% for larger catchments, but it is still important during warm and dry summers like 2003. We confirm a non-linear relationship between glacier contribution in late summer and catchment area/percent glacierization. The peak in runoff attributable to glacier melt, expected in the next 2–3 decades on highly glacierized alpine catchments, has already passed in the study area. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Organochlorine Pollutants within a Polythermal Glacier in the Interior Eastern Alaska Range
Water 2018, 10(9), 1157; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10091157 - 29 Aug 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
To assess the presence of organochlorine pollutants (OCP) in Alaskan sub-Arctic latitudes, we analyzed ice core and meltwater samples from Jarvis Glacier, a polythermal glacier in Interior Alaska. Jarvis Glacier is receding as atmospheric warming continues throughout the region, increasing opportunity for OCP [...] Read more.
To assess the presence of organochlorine pollutants (OCP) in Alaskan sub-Arctic latitudes, we analyzed ice core and meltwater samples from Jarvis Glacier, a polythermal glacier in Interior Alaska. Jarvis Glacier is receding as atmospheric warming continues throughout the region, increasing opportunity for OCP transport both englacially and into the proglacial watershed. Across glacial meltwater and ice core samples, we utilize solid-phase extraction technology and identify the pesticides DDT, DDE and DDD, α-HCH and γ-HCH. OCP concentrations in ice core samples were highest at the 7–14 m depth (0.51 ng/L of DDT) and decreased gradually approaching the bedrock at 79 m. Meltwater concentrations from the proglacial creek slightly exceeded concentrations found in the ice core, potentially indicating aggregate OCP glacial loss, with peak OCP concentration (1.12 ng/L of DDD) taken in July and possibly associated to peak melt. Ongoing use of DDT to fight malaria in Asia and the extended atmospheric range of HCH may account for concentrations in near-surface ice of this remote glacier, correlating with use and atmospheric transport. The opportunity for bioaccumulation of OCPs, in humans or animals, of glacially distributed pollutants may increase as glacial melt continues. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Seasonal Variation of Drainage System in the Lower Ablation Area of a Monsoonal Temperate Debris-Covered Glacier in Mt. Gongga, South-Eastern Tibet
Water 2018, 10(8), 1050; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10081050 - 08 Aug 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Seasonal evolution of the subglacial drainage system in the lower ablation area of the Hailuogou glacier ice tongue were revealed by repeated dye tracer (Rhodamine WT) experiments during the 2009 ablation season. Between April and October, 18 dye tracer experiments were conducted by [...] Read more.
Seasonal evolution of the subglacial drainage system in the lower ablation area of the Hailuogou glacier ice tongue were revealed by repeated dye tracer (Rhodamine WT) experiments during the 2009 ablation season. Between April and October, 18 dye tracer experiments were conducted by injecting the tracer at one location of the lower ablation area of the Hailuogou Glacier to diagnose the seasonal variation of the subglacial drainage system of this section of glacier ice tongue. Using a simple advection-dispersion model (ADM), the flow velocity, hydrodynamic dispersion coefficient, and degree of tracer spreading were deduced. Tracer transit velocity through the tested subglacial channel varied from 0.148 to 0.555 m s−1 during the 2009 ablation season. Dispersivity showed a relatively high value than that found at other glaciers, which varied between 27.05 and 287.49 m2 s−1. Seasonal changes of these indexes indicated that the subglacial drainage system of the lower ablation area of the Hailougou Glacier is a relatively stable existing system in the case of its longitudinal shape, whereas its hydraulic efficiency is low in the early and late ablation seasons and high during the middle of summer due to subglacial channel expansion. Full article
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