Aug 2010	GeoGovernance ist zentrales Element Im Antrag zur Exzellenzinitiative

Geogovernance is a central element in the application for the Excellence Initiative.       > read more

Sep 2010	Beim Schiffbauergasse-Fest wird Wissenschaft zum Anfassen präsentiert

Sep 2010: At the "Schiffbauergasse"-festival science is presented to be touched      > read more

29.10.2010: PCPM Climate Breakfast with Prof. Bierbaum         > read more

Apr 2010	Geo- und Klimawissenschaften im Auswärtigen Amt

Apr 2010: Earth and Environmental Sciences in the Federal Foreign Office.

Feb 2010	PROGRESS startet mit Kickoff-Meeting

Feb 2010: PROGRESS started with Kickoff-Meeting.        > read more

Monday, 24. January 2011

Jan 2011: Potsdam Glacial research congress: Worldwide Echo

Today newspapers from Delhi to New York are quoting the latest article in Nature Geoscience on glaciers and climate change by scientists at PROGRESS, the University of Potsdam research association. Der Spiegel reports that many glaciers may have been incorrectly categorized as endangered. The scientists are therefore calling for new research  specifically incorporating satellite data.

Potsdam Glacial research congress: Worldwide Echo:
Nature Geoscience Article 23.01.2011

Erroneous statements made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in their last report on the future of the Himalayan glaciers (2007) have resulted in heated controversy about the impact of climate change on the region and the methods followed by the IPCC. Using satellite photos, scientists at the University of Potsdam have now studied almost 300 glaciers in the Himalayas. This huge set of data profiles the highest mountain range on the planet over a stretch of around 2,000 kilometers, and has produced evidence of great disparities in glacial development across the region. While most of the glaciers located in the Karakorum region in the northwestern Himalaya remain stable or are advancing, more than 70 percent of the glaciers in the remaining Himalayas are in retreat.

While climatologists around the world are puzzled by the lack of a unified glacial response, the scientists in Potsdam can now provide a first coherent explanation, focusing on a detail formerly not given the necessary attention. They point out that many Himalayan glaciers are covered in a layer of debris several centimeters thick. This acts as a heat barrier and slows the melting rate. Change rate measurements have also shown that glaciers with debris covers in subdued landscapes do not advance great distances and so also do not retreat. However, these findings still do not sufficiently explain the phenomenon of the “stable” Karakorum glaciers, the scientists maintain in Nature Geoscience.

Their research is part of the Potsdam research association PROGRESS and its focus on geo-governance, dedicated to studying the effects of climate change in connection with related public policy.

Further informations:


Westhimalaya, India, Upper Tons Valley, tongue of the Jaundhar Glacier (~ 14km long). Glacial moraine to the left., The view facing north shows the lower 5km of the glacier heavily covered with gravel at about 4,300 m above sea level.


Bandarpunch glacial ice front
The picture shows melt water streams running out of two glacial openings. The surface of the glacier is covered by a thick layer of debris.


Westhimalaya, India, Upper Tons Valley, Bandarpunch Glacier (~ 10km long). The picture shows multiple glacial moraines deposited around 200-300 years ago (age determined via expositional dating of glacial moraines with cosmogenic nuclides located on erratic blocks; see Scherler et al., 2010 Quaternary Science Reviews). The front of the glacier is about 2km away. This is the distance the glacier has retreated since the deposition of the glacial moraines.