Category Archives: People

Paleoclimatology from Mount Ortles to the USA

Who?

Hi! My name is Giuliano and I come from Venosta Valley (Italy), a beautiful, tiny place in the heart of the European Alps. Given my background in environmental physics and my passion for the mountains, the ice and nature brought me to the new job I have started.

Me hiking in South Tyrol (Photo: Giuliano Bertagna)
Me hiking in South Tyrol (Photo: Giuliano Bertagna)

Where?
I work at the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center in Columbus, Ohio, in the USA. This is one of the few research teams in the world that specializes in retrieving ice cores from high altitude areas and glaciers, such as the Alps. My project will last two years and will be summarized in a final report about climate and glaciers in the Bolzano Province.

The Byrd Research Center in Columbus, Ohio, USA (Photo: Giuliano Bertagna)
The Byrd Research Center in Columbus, Ohio, USA (Photo: Giuliano Bertagna)
Mount Ortles and Columbus, Ohio in the world
Mount Ortles and Columbus, Ohio in the world

In memory of Roberto Filippi

A new fund has been established by the Byrd Polar Research Center in memory of our friend and colleague Roberto Filippi to support alpine research, specifically the study of the Mount Ortles ice cores recently collected in South Tyrol (Italy) as part of the Ortles Project.

Roberto Filippi was a visiting Italian scholar from Trentino-Alto Adige (Italy) at the Byrd Polar Research Center in the Ice Core Paleoclimatology Group from April 2009 until June 2010. During that period, he was involved in projects that mapped the retreat of the Quelccaya ice cap (Peru) and the ice fields of Kilimanjaro (Tanzania). He also participated in ice-core drilling projects in the Cordillera Blanca (Peru) and in the Antarctic Peninsula.

Roberto was much loved at the Byrd Polar Research Center for those qualities that every scientist should hold dear: curiosity, determination, humility, and timing. He was 29 years old in 2011 when he fell into a crevasse and died on a glacier on Mount Blanc in the French-Italian Alps.The new fund in memory of Roberto Filippi supports students and researchers (visiting researchers and postdocs) in performing paleoclimatological, glacialogical, and environmental research in alpine systems through travel and field-related expenses. Those that would like to make a donation can give to OSU Fund Number 314531 or visit https://www.giveto.osu.edu/igive/onlinegiving/fund_results.aspx?fund=314531.

 

1st March 2012 Interview to N. Kehrwald

nat-kehr

How did you happen to take part in scientific expeditions in extreme environments?

I vividly remember the first time that I saw a mountain over 6000 meters in elevation. I was invited to be a member of a mountaineering expedition in Perù, and when we first arrived, I was scanning the horizon for the mountains that we were going to climb. I was used to 4000 m mountains in Colorado, and so I immediately began looking at a certain altitude. I had to keep looking higher and higher, and when I eventually saw the summit I mumbled something along the lines of, “We are going to climb THAT?!”.  The immensity of the mountains and glaciers give an impression of a very permanent presence.

4 Feb 2012 Interview to G.V. Hofer

Today, we publish another interview with a participant in the autumn 2011 scientific expedition to the Ortler mountain. The person interviewed is Valentin Hofer, a doctor who took part as a member of the mountain rescue service and as a Eurac researcher/consultant.

How did you get to work on the Ortler project?

I was invited by the EURAC Institute of Alpine Emergency Medicine, both as a mountain emergency doctor and as a scientific consultant for a EURAC high altitude medicine project, which was associated with the Ortler project.

What is your particular scientific interest in high altitudes?

As a mountain emergency doctor I’m primarily interested in the various kinds of altitude sickness. Not only is the sickness itself interesting, but also possible connections to accidents on the mountain.

What kind of atmosphere was there among the participants in the camp at altitude?

3 November Interview with Paolo Gabrielli

A few days ago the “Science Day” took place in Bolzano/Bozen at EURAC. The Science Day is a type of fair where projects, proposals and ideas for teaching science in the Autonomous Province of Bolzano/Bozen were presented. The ORTLER project was presented as well and we were able to see close up how much has been happening around this project so far. We will soon publish new posts including pictures and reports about the work currently going on in all participating schools.

Today we have the honour of publishing an interview with Dr. Paolo Gabrielli, a researcher from the Trentino region in Italy, who is also the scientific coordinator of the project. He was able to answer to some of our questions shortly before returning to work at the Byrd Polar Centre of the Ohio State University of Columbus (USA).

Paolo, you are shortly due to go back to the USA. Four ice cores, three of them reaching down to the rock underneath the glacier, were extracted. Were you expecting such a result a few months ago?

To tell you the truth, yes, I was expecting this, although the extraction of four ice cores was our most ambitious goal. We had prepared everything in such a way that would allow this result. I would have considered extracting one such ice core, reaching down to the rock, a success. This was not a certainty at the outset… especially considering the technical difficulties we had during the operations.

What are the unique features of this project?