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Climate Change’s Effect on Glaciers Around Lake Issyk Kul, Kazakhstan

40.6N 79.6E

June 22nd, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Deserts, Lakes VIIRSSuomi-NPP

Kazakhstan and China – June 21st, 2013

In the last 15 years, all of the 22 glaciers around Lake Issyk Kul (center, between Lake Balqash and the Taklamakan Desert), in Kazakhstan, have retreated. There are a number of reasons for the degradation of glaciation in Issyk Kul, but the increase in surface pollution and climate change are the main ones.

Both contribute to more intense melting and therefore degrade the mass balance of the glacier. The average yearly temperature in the glaciation zone has risen by 0.2ºC; summers are warmer by 0.6ºC, evidenced not only by melting rates but by a longer ablation period. This continued warming trend will accelerate glacial collapse and, most important, lead to a change in the water volume in the rivers the glaciers help to feed (click here for more information).

Impact Climate Change Will Have on New York State, USA

43.9N 77.2W

June 22nd, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Lakes AVHRRMetOp

USA and Canada – June 21st, 2013

Climate change in New York state may cause some initially positive effects for certain people, in general it is creating alarming issues. While the long-term outlook for grape-growers in the Finger Lakes region (lower right quadrant) is favorable, it is less than optimal for skiers and other winter sports enthusiasts in the Adirondacks. Fir and spruce trees are expected to die out in the Catskills, and New York City’s backup drinking water supply may well be contaminated as a result of seawater making its way farther up the Hudson River.

These possibilities — modeled deep into this century — are detailed in a new assessment of the impact that climate change will have in New York State. If carbon emissions continue to increase at their current pace, ttemperatures are expected to rise across the state by 3 degrees Fahrenheit by the 2020s and by as much as 9 degrees by the 2080s.

That would have profound effects on agriculture across the state. For example, none of the varieties of apples currently grown in New York orchards would be viable. Dairy farms would be less productive as cows faced heat stress. And the state’s forests would be transformed; spruce-fir forests and alpine tundra would disappear as invasive species like kudzu, an aggressive weed, gained more ground.

If the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets melt, as the report says could happen, the sea level could rise by as much as 55 inches, which means that beach communities would frequently be inundated by flooding. The effects of climate change would fall disproportionately on the poor and the disabled, since in coastal areas in New York City and along rivers in upstate New York there is a high amount of low-income housing that would be in the path of flooding (click here for more information).

Falling Water Levels in the Salton Sea, USA – June 19th, 2013

33.2N 115.7W

June 19th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Lakes MODISTerra

USA – June 17th, 2013

The Salton Sea is a victim of climate change and reduced quantities of water. The Salton Sea is (still) the largest lake of California. Lately, however, the water levels in the Sea have dropped with as much as 3 feet a year. Many fear that if nothing is done about it, there will be nothing left of the lake in a few decades.

This will cause new problems. Palm Springs, 35 miles north, fears dust storms of pesticide polluted salt particles. Environmentalists fear for the millions of migratory birds for whom this is the last remaining wetland in California. So far all initiatives to save the sea have failed. The Salton Sea is a perfect example of the choices that are made when the water runs out – the big cities and massive agricultural lands are priviledged (click here for more information).

Water Levels of the Great Salt Lake, USA

41.0N 112.4W

June 18th, 2013 Category: Lakes MODISTerra

USA – June 17th, 2013

The Great Salt Lake is located on a shallow playa. Consequently, small changes in the water-surface elevation result in large changes in the surface area of the lake. This is particularly evident when the lake spills into the west desert at an elevation of about 4215 feet, greatly increasing its area.

The lake differs in elevation between the south and north parts. The Union Pacific Railroad causeway divides the lake into two parts. The water-surface elevation of the south part of the lake is usually 0.5 to 2 feet higher than that of the north part because most of the inflow to the lake is to the south part. The causeway, which hinders mixing, also explains why the northern half of the lake appears to be a different color than the southern half.

Lake Superior Feeling the Heat: Climate Change and the Great Lakes of North America

47.0N 86.3W

June 14th, 2013 Category: Lakes AVHRRMetOp

USA and Canada – June 14th, 2013

The Great Lakes are feeling the heat from climate change. As the world’s largest freshwater system warms, it is poised to systematically alter life for local wildlife and the tribes that depend on it, and the warming could also provide a glimpse of what is happening on a more global level.

Total ice cover on Lake Superior (center), which is the largest, deepest and coldest of the five lakes, has shrunk by about 20 percent over the past 37 years. Though the change has made for longer, warmer summers, it’s a problem because ice is crucial for keeping water from evaporating and it regulates the natural cycles of the Great Lakes (click here for more information).

 

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