Tag Archives: Alps

WHAT DOES THE ICE TELL US?

A first indication that ancient ice was still present in the Tyrolean Alps arose from the 1991 discovery of the famous ~5200 years old Tyrolean Ice Man who emerged from the low elevation ablating ice field of the Hauslabjoch (3210 m) located ~30 km from Mt. Ortles, the highest mountain in South Tyrol, in the Italian Eastern Alps. This discovery provided an exceptional time window into our past history, focusing on how humans were interacting with the Alpine environment in the Neolithic and how rapid climate change may have affected their life, also contributing to bury the Tyrolean Ice Man first in snow and then in ice.

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The 5.2 kyr old Tyrolean Ice Man (right) that emerged in 1991 from the ablating ice at the Hauslabjoch, ~30 km north of Mt. Ortles. Landesgendarmeriekommando fur Tirol/Austria

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

Permafrost

 

Permafrost is one of the main components of the Earth’s cryosphere, which is a word indicating all the ice existing on Earth. It is defined as “any subsurface material which remains at or below a temperature of 0°C for at least two consecutive years” and mainly occurs in high-latitude areas of the northern hemisphere (look at its distribution map here).

Permafrost may also exist at high altitude areas of the mid- and low-latitudes, such as the Alps