Tag: climate change

ECWG Nov 21 meeting featured Dr. Bruce Molnia on Alaska’s melting glaciers.

ECWG Nov 21 meeting featured Dr. Bruce Molnia on Alaska’s melting glaciers.

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Washington Group

Dr. Bruce Molnia FN80 showed photographs of 100+ years of changes in glaciers in Alaska at the November ECWG dinner meeting on Saturday the 21st.

Dr. Bruce Molnia & Jack Williams
Dr. Bruce Molnia FN80 & ECWG Chairman Jack Williams FN03 Photo by Curt Westergaard, MN09

 A Melting Landscape:    Using Repeat Photography to Document Alaskan Glacier and Landscape Change

    The DC Chapter of the Circumnavigator’s Club joined ECWG members at the meeting.Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 8.52.21 PMThe presentation consisted of numerous decadal and longer time-lapse images of natural features of the landscape, glaciers, and habitats that have been affected by the warming climate. Bruce Molnia documented how he had to track down the locations from which the photos taken over a 100 years ago were taken by early tourists and scientists in the 19th century, often time bush-wacking hours through undergrowth and trees that have grown in areas that were barren 100+ years ago. It documents the changes that have been taking place that may be too slow for the significance of the changes to be immediately obvious over a short period of time.

Forthcoming 2015 ECWG Dinners at the Cosmos Club: December 5.  Professor Chris Palmer, “Confessions of a wildlife filmmaker.”

Dr. Bruce Molnia FN 80

Dr. Bruce F. Molnia is the U.S. Geological Service Senior Advisor form National Civil Applications and an award-winning research geologist. He conducts glacial, marine, and coastal research with a focus on innovative uses of remotely sensed data, and the response of glaciers in Alaska, Chile, and Afghanistan to changing climate. His object is to present understandable science to the public, policy makers, the news media, and his peers. He has been awarded: the USGS Lifetime Communications Achievement Award, the Geological Society of America’s Career Achievement and Public Service awards, the International DVD Association’s Government DVD of the Year Award, and three USGS Eugene Shoemaker External Communication Awards.

ECWG Molina 2

Dr. Molnia has been studying and photographing glaciers for 50 years. For the past two decades, his focus has been on repeat photography, a technique in which a historical photograph and a modern photograph, both having the same field of view, are compared and contrasted to quantitatively and qualitatively determine their similarities and differences. Molina is using ground-based repeat photography at a number of locations in Alaska, including Glacier Bay and Kenai Fjords National Parks, western Prince William Sound, and the Juneau area, to document and understand changes to glaciers and landscapes as a result of changing climate. Since the earliest known photographs of glacier-covered Alaskan landscapes date from the early 1880s, repeat photography is useful for documenting as much as a century and a quarter of Alaskan landscape change.

Dr. Molnia is also using airborne-platform-based repeat photography throughout glacier-covered Alaska to augment ground-based assessments and to monitor change at geographic scales ranging from individual glaciers, to entire mountain ranges. Since the earliest Alaskan aerial photographs date from the late 1920s, aerial repeat photography documents kilometers of rapid glacier change. Join Bruce Molnia to examine how the use of repeat photography is systematically documenting glacier and landscape change at more than 200 locations.


Speaker for Saturday December 5 Black-tie dinner, Professor Chris Palmer, “Confessions of a wildlife filmmaker”.

Reminder:   Please make checks payable to: “ECWG”

Send Payment to Arnella Trent at: 115 Willis Street, Cambridge MD 21613  Email: arnellat@gmail.com    Mobile Phone: 301-526-0822

ECWG website: www.explorersclubdc.com

Hans-Peter Plag spoke at May monthly dinner: adapting to the future climate.

Hans-Peter Plag spoke at May monthly dinner: adapting to the future climate.

Hans-Peter Plag, Professor, Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, and Director of the Mitigation and Adaptation Research Institute at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA spoke about how society can prepare for the changes in our earth due to climate and global changes that are taking now taking place world wide.

ECWG Han-Peter Plag 2

His talk was entitled: “Preparing for a Journey into the Unknown: The Transition to the Post-Holocene.”

Some scientists propose that we call this new period the “Anthropocene”, geologic chronological term that begins when human activities have had a significant global impact on the Earth’s ecosystems. See Science: 3 April, 2015,Vol 348, Issue 6239, p38-39.

Since the last ice age, about 12,000 years ago the earth has experienced a  period of exceptionally stable climate favoring our transition from hunters and gathers to agriculture. This relatively warm period is known as the Holocene epoch.  During the last 6,000 years there has been very little change in the amount of water locked up as ice on Greenland and Antarctica so the sea level has been exceptionally stable, allowing humanity to build permanent settlements in coastal areas and, in particular, river deltas and utilize the many benefits of these areas.

Fema-Surge Sandy with textHowever in the past 100 years as world temperatures have warmed ice shelf melt from Greenland and Antarctica have increased sea levels on average 8 inches world wide. Flood damage from Hurricane Sandy was enhanced compared to what it might have been 100 years ago because of today’s higher ocean level.

In the past couple of hundred years humanity has introduced extreme and rapid changes in the coupled human-environmental system: increased CO2 and CH4 into the atmosphere, land clearing practices, agricultural practices, soil erosion, etc.

Prof. Plat argues these changes have pushed us out of the Holocene into a Post-Holocene, or Anthropocene (from Greek anthropos: human being).

In the Post-Holocene, Earth will be a planet unknown to humanity. Our inevitable journey to the unknown new Earth may turn out to be the greatest challenge  humanity has to face since the super-eruption of Toba about 75,000 years ago, estimated to have caused a 10 year long winter worldwide.  Fundamental changes of our way to interact with the Earth’s life-support system are needed to make this journey less threatening for modern society.

Prof. Plag is also Editor-in-Chief: Journal of Physics and Chemistry of the Earth. His column, “On the Edge”,  can be found at http://www.mari.odu.edu/people/hpplag/my_column.php                                                    the MARI site is here:  http://www.mari.odu.edu/                                                                   and his bio is here:  http://www.mari.odu.edu/people/hpplag/

Saturday, May 16th, 2015: 6-9 PM

“Preparing for a Journey into the Unknown: The Transition to the Post-Holocene”

Please reserve  ____  places for

Name _____________Guest name(s)_____________________________       Number of vegetarian meals (if any) desired __________________________ Organization Affiliation if other than ECWG  _________________________

Number of dinners @ $55 each ____________  

Enclosed is a check for $  _______________ (Make check payable to “ECWG”)

Send form and payment to:

Arnella Trent, 115 Willis Street, Cambridge, MD  21613-1618     Phone: 301-526-0822, Arnellat@gmail.com

No cancellations will be accepted after Tuesday evening, May 12, 2015

The next ECWG event will be the summer picnic, date to be announced soon.   Forthcoming 2015 ECWG Dinners at the Cosmos Club:                                             September. 19 (NOAA’s Kathy Sullivan),   November 21,  and December 5.

ECWG website: www.explorersclubdc.com