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2.1: Impacts of Climate Change on the Water Cycle I – Glaciers and the Hydrological Regime (Dr M. Huss – UNIFR / ETHZ)

In this unit, you will learn about observed trends in glacier retreat and changes in mass balance. Different methods of mass balance measurements are presented. Ongoing and projected climate change by the end of the century will have fundamental consequences on the cryosphere. In this module, you will realize what the consequences of glacier retreat are on glacial runoff regimes and on global scale runoff. You will become familiar with changes in snow cover in different mountain regions of the World. Further, the basic mechanics of glacier flow and an overview of processes leading to glacier instability will allow you to understand how climate variables, among other factors, may potentially modify the frequency of glacial lake drainage, glacier surge and the break-off of glaciers. Finally, this module discusses how the calving of ice sheets will impact sea level rise and where uncertainties persist in the projection of these changes.

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