“The 1890s extent of ice volume in New Zealand’s Southern Alps was 170 km3, compared to 36.1 km3 now. That disappearance of 75-80% of Southern Alps ice is graphic evidence of the local effects of global warming”
It is a matter of shame that there has been so little in New Zealand media (count on the fingers of ONE hand) on the demise of ice in the Southern Alps in New Zealand and the rapid retreat of our main glaciers.
About a week ago Radio NZ featured the following interview with Dave Bamford, a lifelong mountain climber. It was unscheduled and labelled by "Nghts Sport" (there are no details as to what is being discussed in the interview, and yet it gave one of the best first-person accounts of what is happening to our Alps.
Judging from what Dave is saying it would be hard to find a climate sceptic amongst the climbing fraternity because they have to live with the consequences.
Already many places have become unaccessible and passes over the mountains are in essence closed because of the danger of landslides from the collapse of the morraine wall on the sides of the ice river.
Listen to the interview. It is worth your time.
Mountaineer, Dave Bamford , describes the rapid retreat of New Zealand's glaciers
Listen to the interview here.
You can see 2 years of glacier retreat illiustrated here.
It is a matter of considerable shame that I have to report that some of the main reporting on this has been in the foreign media.
This piece of research was carried by Australia's the Conversation and not by New Zealand media.
The largely bare Southern Alps at the end of summer, 2018.
A third of the permanent snow and ice of New Zealand’s Southern Alps has now disappeared, according to our new research based on National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research aerial surveys.
But a local tour operator, Fox Glacier Guiding, has been unable to take tourists onto the ice on foot since April, when glacial retreat caused a river to change course, blocking access to a popular hiking trail. And at another glacier about 14 miles down the road, the operator Franz Josef Glacier Guides lost hiking access in 2012, also because of retreating ice.
Now, air landings by helicopter are the only way to set foot on the glaciers, which lie at the confluence of the Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea on the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island. As a result, both companies have made helicopter tours their primary product, increasing business for local helicopter operator.
Finally, earlier this year the gap was filled by this article in stuff.co.nz