The cryosphere, a critical component of the Earth system, is responding visibly to anthropogenic climate change. Glaciers in many parts of the world are receding and the extent of Arctic sea ice is decreasing rapidly. Melting of mountain glaciers and any reduction in snowfall in such regions will threaten the supply of freshwater to downstream ecosystems and communities. This IGBP synthesis sought to investigate the effects of changes in the cryosphere, particularly the mountain glaciers, by bringing together a diverse group of experts.
A workshop on “Changes in the Mountain Cryosphere and their Downstream Impacts” was held in Aeschi, Switzerland, in April 2012. This event was co-organised by Ray Bradley (on behalf of IGBP) and the Mountain Research Initiative. A paper summarising the key insights from the workshop is under preparation.