Latest News

Back to Latest News back

 

Hot weather having big impact on New Zealand’s ‘water tower’ glaciers

Hot weather having big impact on New Zealand’s ‘water tower’ glaciers
January 31, 2018

Current high temperatures are having a concerning effect on glaciers and ice fields on New Zealand’s South Island, according to University of Otago researchers.

A research team has returned this week from The Gardens of Eden and Allah; one of New Zealand’s largest but least known ice fields, which straddles the Southern Alps and feeds major rivers such as the Rakaia and Rangitata in Canterbury and Whanganui on the west coast.

Associate Professor Dr Nicolas Cullen of the University of Otago Geography Department and Dr Pascal Sirguey of the Surveying School say there is now some urgency to determine the evolving processes at play in these alpine areas, and episodes of hot weather such as the current one are causing considerable changes that point to a concerning future.

Dr Sirguey advises “what we’re seeing from these current high temperatures is a massive melt-off of snow. This snow usually provides a protective layer above ice fields and glaciers that reflects energy from the sun.”

Dr Cullen added “glaciers are in retreat and that is definitely linked to climate change. Air temperature is a governing factor in the health of ice fields and glaciers as it controls melt and whether it rains or snows.

“As such, the changes in both the timing and volume of runoff from glaciers and seasonal snow will affect New Zealand’s hydropower generation, irrigation, and agriculture in the future. These are our water towers. While precipitation (rain) provides the main input to our river catchments, once the snow has melted glaciers help to sustain water flow to our rivers. Water availability is set to become a major issue.”

Dr Sirguey and Dr Cullen are currently investigating ways to gain clearer data on ice field changes, harnessing the latest satellite technology and modelling to get a bird’s eye view from space to measure changes in The Gardens of Eden and Allah ice field. 

Images: The research team (top), the The Gardens of Eden and Allah (middle), Dr Nicolas Cullen (below left) and Dr Pascal Sirguey (below right).

5th August 2017 - CLIMATE TO INCREASINGLY IMPACT AUSTRALIA’S SKI INDUSTRY 

3rd November 2016 - NZSKI RETAINS 2016 SEASON PASS PRICES FOR 2017 

7th September 2016 - WINTERY BLAST DUMPS SNOW ON QUEENSTOWN SKI AREAS

14th July 2016 - SNOWSTORM BOOSTS QUEENSTOWN’S WINTER SPORT SEASON 

5th July 2016 - NZRA CONCERNED ABOUT MORE FIORDLAND HELI LANDINGS 

18th February 2014 - CLIMATE CHANGE TO IMPACT SKI RESORTS


Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.

 

supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

RHINOPLAY

Rhinoplay offers playground equipment in Australia that is safe, durable, and most importantly fun! We specialise in creating unique indoor playgrounds for play centres and outdoor playgrounds for…

read more

Parks / Play / Surfaces

 
 

revolutioniseSPORT

revolutioniseSPORT is the emerging market leader in online club management in Australia. Whether it is memberships, registrations, events, online sales or governance tools - revolutioniseSPORT is the…

read more

Recreation / Sport / Technology

 
 

Altitude Training Systems

Also at 3 Squill Place, Arndell Park NSW 2148 ATS are global leaders in altitude training and research. From mask systems and inflatable tents to simulated altitude facilities, we help…

read more

Fitness / Sport / Technology

 
 

SYNERGY FITNESS

The Calgym/Synergy group has had a long and proud history since 1976 as world leaders in the innovation, design and evolution of commercial strength and conditioning equipment. The Synergy group was…

read more

Fitness / Technology / Wellness

 
 

COMMERCIAL AQUATICS AUSTRALIA

Commercial Aquatics Australia provides aquatic solutions nationwide and is one of the largest and most experienced companies specialising in the design, construction, renovation, service, maintenance…

read more

Aquatics / Design / Play / Waterparks

 
 

Rae-Line

Sports Padding At Rae-Line we manufacture high quality sports padding, gym mats, foam mats and protective padding, suitable for a range of different facilities. Our sports padding is…

read more

Attractions / Fitness / Recreation / Safety / Sport

 
 

GEOFF NINNES FONG AND PARTNERS

Geoff Ninnes Fong & Partners (GNFP) is a structural, aquatic and civil engineering consultancy with broad experience in the design of new municipal and institutional swimming pools, hydrotherapy…

read more

Aquatics / Consultants / Design / Venues

 
 

Smart Connection Consultancy

Smart Connection Consultancy is a boutique sport and recreation consultancy who has become one of Australia’s leading advocates for the use of synthetic sports surfaces as a vehicle to grow…

read more

Consultants / Recreation / Sport / Surfaces

 
 
 
 

get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business