Scientific Research in Geography Practical 8. Alpine glaciers and their future. Supervisor: Ian Evans Jan –Feb.

2005 Where will your grandchildren be able to see glaciers in the Alps? Starting from an inventory of late-twentieth-century glaciers, changes can be predicted from glacier altitude, aspect, gradient, size and type. A given warming raises the snowline (Equilibrium Line Altitude) and leads to smaller glaciers. Thus analyses of the present distribution can be used to predict which glaciers will disappear, and how large the remaining glaciers will be. Students will be taught how to apply multiple regressions, how to analyse aspect data with circular statistics and graphics (within Stata), and how to cope with missing data. Unfortunately there can be no field trip; this is essentially an applied data analysis practical. Inventories can be supplied (and used) for other mountain ranges if requested in week 1. Week 1 Intro; the Alps, its glaciers and how climate changes them. (CM 219) 2 Regression & graphs. (GRC computer room) 3 Circular statistics. “ 4 Project completion “ The aim is to use present data on glacier distribution and characteristics to make some predictions, based on assumptions (scenarios) of climatic change. The objective is to explore relations in a realistically large data set containing different data types and some missing values. This provides practice in statistical analysis and interpretation using especially regression, scatter plots, bar charts, and circular statistics. The possibilities are multitudinous: you have freedom to explore the data and develop the project in whatever way you like. The following is a suggestion: Explore WGI-based data file (approximately 1970s situation) for 5183 glaciers in the Alps (from 1 ha upward…) Choose a region or glacier type and examine some relations between variables (e.g. size and altitude). Use relations provided to predict glacier ELA and height range. Produce maps and statistics of predicted glacier distribution and characteristics e.g. for a) 1° warming cf. late C20; b) 3.5° warming; c) one further scenario. Include these in your report, commenting on climatic sensitivities of glaciers, discussing limitations and suggesting further work and/or data needed. Report text 1200 to 2000 words, 5 to 15 figures. Data are provided on names, identifiers, location (latitude and longitude, in decimal degrees, so pseudo-maps can be plotted: at 46 N, 1° latitude is 111.15 km; of longitude, 77.47 km), regional location (see below), drainage basins, altitude (highest and lowest), aspect, area, length (for a subset; & estimated for all), gradient and type (various classifications), and several derived variables (e.g. height difference – range in altitude, and gradient) and transformations such as sine and cosine of aspect, and log10 of length. Data can be analysed at three spatial scales: 4 major divisions, 27 districts and 103 supergroups, defined on the basis of orography, compactness, numbers (>20 per group, > 80 per district) and similarity in glacier statistics. (Initially 133 glacier groups were defined, but some were too small for statistical analysis.)

Report due… Friday 18th Feb