Lewis Owen has been scraping out icy fragments of history's truth from one of the most glaciated regions on Earth for the past 25 years.
His frequent excursions to Tibet and the Himalayas have led the University of Cincinnati professor of geology to some cold, hard facts.
Owen knows climate change is immortal fluctuating across millennia, patiently building toward moments when circumstances are ripe for apocalypse. It was true thousands of years ago, when rapid climate change had profound effects on landscapes and the creatures that lived on them. That scenario could be true again, if the past is ignored.
"We're interested in how glaciers change over time as climate has changed, because we're in a changing climate at the moment, dominantly because of increased human activity," Owen says. "From understanding past glacial changes, we can understand how glaciers may change in the future."
Owen, head of UC's Department of Geology, is among a team of researchers at the university who have been gathering and studying years of data on Tibet and the Himalayas. Members of the group contributed to two research papers that will be published in the March 15 edition (Vol. 88) of Quaternary Science Reviews, an international, multidisciplinary research and review journal.
Owen is primary author on "Nature and Timing of Quaternary Glaciation in the Himalayan-Tibetan Orogen," and Madhav Murari, a post-doctoral fellow at UC, is primary author on "Timing and Climatic Drivers for Glaciation Across Monsoon-Influenced Regions of the Himalayan-Tibetan Orogen." The National Science Foundation and National Geographic Society have supported the research efforts of Owen and his team.
BIG DIFFERENCES IN HUGE GLACIERS
Glaciers are fickle beasts. They don't all respond to climate change in the same way. Some recede while others surge, and these changes can have a profound effect on landscapes at ti
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University of Cincinnati