Tour brings insight on glaciers and climate change

University of Calgary graduate Jocelyn Hirose talks about her ongoing study on climate change and its impact on glaciers.

  • Apr. 5, 2011 5:00 a.m.
The Illecillewaet Glacier

The Illecillewaet Glacier

On March 24, University of Calgary graduate Jocelyn Hirose gave a presentation at Panorama Mountain Village about climate change and its impact on glaciers.

The presentation was part of a tour titled SOS: Save Our Snowpack, that ran from March 17 to March 24 throughout the Columbia Valley.

Hirose’s presentation showcased her studies under Dr. Shawn Marshall monitoring the Illecillewaet Glacier in Glacier National Park, B.C. Following Hirose’s presentation was Teton Gravity Research’s film “Generations”, which discusses climate change through the perspective of those whom snowy winters have a deeper personal significance.

The evening’s event was presented by the Invermere branch of Wildsight.

“It was good, I got a good response from board members from Wildsight,” said Hirose.

“Panorama was definitely a different group of people, some younger folks were there. Quite a few people came up to me after as well about getting involved with glacier monitoring.”

Hirose’s interest in glacier reduction and climate change stemmed from her recreational interests of mountaineering, climbing and skiing.

“I can remember one major moment in my life when I was on Mount Kilimanjaro and I was on this beautiful glacier that had receded so much,” said Hirose.

“We were planning to do one route, and the route was actually gone, because the glacier was gone. So I ended up having to do a different route, and then when I got to the top I was like ‘I know nothing about what’s beneath my feet, and I want to know more’. Pretty much from that point on I knew I wanted to investigate glaciers a little more in-depth.”

Hirose’s presentation at Panorama focused on her monitoring of the Illecillewaet Glacier and its water run-off. From there, she took her findings to other glaciers in the Illecillewaet Basin in Revelstoke, and studied their run-offs.

“I definitely think that glaciers on a global scale are being hit harder because temperatures are going up at a much faster rate than previously thought,” said Hirose. “Glaciers are primarily influenced by winter precipitation and summer temperatures, and summer temperatures are getting warmer and warmer, and summers are getting longer and longer. That’s contributing to glacier waste bins.”

Hirose believes that individuals can still help the issue by lessening their carbon footprint by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“On a more regional, global scale, we have to change policies, so industries follow suit as well,” added Hirose.

Hirose will be giving a presentation about climate change for the Guides Association in Canmore on April 14.

Currently, she is still working on her thesis for her work, which is not yet completed.

“I’m still writing my thesis, so there’s more to be discovered,” she said.