Written in ice: glaciers and climate change at next KPU-Science World talk

Mon, Jan 15, 2018

Glacier cover is now less than 60 per cent of what it was 300 years ago.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) geographer Dr. Johannes Koch explains why that matters at the next KPU-Science World speaker series event on Jan. 23 at Science World.

His interest was piqued by his travels through the mountains in western Canada.

I started to become fascinated by glaciers and the stories they contain,” said Koch. “The health of our glaciers has directly many complex, but positive effects on the overall health of our province.”

Koch has studied glaciers as close to home as Garibaldi Provincial Park, and as far away as Chilean Patagonia. He knows that understanding the history of glacier fluctuations since the last ice age is critical to trying to predict future effects of climate warming. 

Meltwater from B.C. mountain glaciers is used for irrigation in agriculture, for power generation in hydropower dams, and is essential for water flow during salmon migration. Glacier runoff also plays an important part in the water that flows in many of the province’s bigger rivers in mid-summer to early fall, and thus plays an important role in overall availability of fresh water.

“Glaciers in our province, just like anywhere else in the world, have seen significant rates of retreat in the last few decades. In some areas, like Vancouver Island, we have lost most of the glaciers, while in the rest of our province we have seen glacier retreat that is easy to observe from year to year, and certainly from one decade to the next,” said Koch. “Many glaciers may even vanish within the next several decades if current trends continue.”

This speaker series is a partnership between KPU and Science World that supports the expansion of science in our communities. This free public series works to engage, entertain and educate guests with fascinating insights into the world of science.

Written in Ice – Glaciers and Climate Change
WHEN: January 23, 2018, 7 p.m.
WHERE: Science World at TELUS World of Science (1455 Quebec Street Vancouver)
SPEAKER: Dr. Johannes Koch

The talk begins at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. for a set of interactive, hands-on activities and scientific demonstrations related to the presentation. This event is free and open to the public. Online registration is requested. For more information, visit kpu.ca/scienceworld.

Story by Tatiana Tomljanovic