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Glacial Lakes Amongst Southern Alps of New Zealand

44.8S 169.2E

February 27th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Lakes, Mountains

New Zealand – February 26th, 2013

Glacial lakes can be seen here, nestled amidst the peaks of New Zealand’s Southern Alps. Scientists have found that hundreds of steep mountain glaciers, which rapidly pass their ice gains down to their termini, have all fluctuated in size due to climate change over the last 35 years. Between 1976 and 2005 the volume decreased more than 10%, from 54.60 km3 to 48.74 km3. More than 92% of this loss was from 12 of the largest glaciers.

For the big glaciers, glacial lakes have begun to form at their fronts as lowering ice levels reach the level of their outlet rivers. Once a lake has formed, it eats at the glacier far faster than surface melt. At the front of the glacier, the ice cliff calves bergs into the lake. This positive feedback ensures a massive and catastrophic depletion of the glacier volume, creating an irreversible tipping-point for the glacier. It would take an ice age climate to drive the glacier back across the lake and to reverse the process (click here for more information).

Snowfall Over the Alps and Fog Across Northern Italy

45.4N 9.1E

February 17th, 2013 Category: Mountains

Italy – January 26th, 2013

The Alps, one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, are covered in snow in this winter image. The mountains stretch approximately 1,200 kilometres (750 mi) across eight countries from Austria and Slovenia in the east, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany, France to the west and Italy and Monaco to the south. Here, a fog can be seen extending over northern Italy, from the Alps, across the valley of the River Po, to the northern slopes of the Apennines.

Snowfall on the Alps, Italy – January 6th, 2013

45.5N 10.6E

January 6th, 2013 Category: Lakes, Mountains

Italy – December 28th, 2012

Snow rests on the crests of the Alps, in northern Italy, while the peaks of the Apennines, running down the center of the country, are mostly snow-free. Lake Garda can be seen at the foot of the Alps, the southern part of its basin reaching towards the Po Valley, which flanks the River Po and is nestled between the Alps and the northern segment of the Apennines.

Italy, from the Alps to Mount Etna – March 30th, 2012

42.7N 12.5E

March 30th, 2012 Category: Lakes, Mountains, Volcanoes

Italy - March 29th, 2012

Snow rests atop the peaks of the Alps, arching across northern Italy and its border with Switzerland, Germany and Austria. South of the mountains lies the valley of the River Po, home to important cities such as Milan (visible as a grey area in the full image), west of Lake Garda. Although the Apennines, the mountain chain that forms the backbone of the peninsula, are snow-free, some snow can be seen at the summit of Mount Etna, in Sicily.

Lakes Garda and Constance Near the Alps

45.4N 9.1E

March 26th, 2012 Category: Lakes, Mountains

Italy - December 26th, 2011

This wide-swath ASAR image shows the contours of the Alps, in northern Italy, as well as parts of Switzerland and Austria. Visible in the Po Valley south of the mountains is the city of Milan, appearing as a large, circular, white area.

Also visible near the foot of the mountains are several lakes: Lake Garda, in Italy, near the center of the image, and Lake Constance, shared by Germany, Switzerland and Austria, in the upper left corner. The Rhine River flows into Lake Constance from the south following the Austro-Swiss border.