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2009.12.21 > For Immediate Release
contact: Tim Kaldahl - University Relations
phone: 402.554.3502 - email: tkaldahl@unomaha.edu

UNO Researchers Discuss Glacier Growth at Meeting

Omaha - Research conducted by two University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) professors attracted considerable attention last week at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco. John “Jack” Shroder and Michael Bishop, both from the Department of Geography-Geology, discussed how, at least in one part of the world, glaciers are not in retreat . . . but possibly advancing.

“Our work in the Himalayas shows something unique when compared to other areas,” Shroder said. “Global warming has contributed to the melting of most of the world’s glaciers. What is happening in Pakistan's Karakoram Mountains is different. And it could still be related to global warming.”

The mountain range, which includes K2 (the world’s second-highest mountain), has received increased amounts of precipitation in recent years and may also be experiencing “glacial surge," which happens when melt water underneath the glacier lubricates the contact ground. Glaciers can then slip forward faster, Shroder said. Articles in advance of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting have been written and published by the BBC and in the magazine Science. The AGU meetings took place Dec. 14 through 18.

“We wanted to underscore that our findings do not negate or refute concerns about global warming,” Shroder said. “The uniqueness of the Karakoram Mountains may make it a net winner because of heavier snowfalls.”

Shroder has worked in the Himalayas for more than 30 years. Bishop has worked with Shroder for more than 20 years. Both serve as directors for UNO’s Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) Regional Center for Southwest Asia, which includes the Hindu Kush and western Himalaya mountains (which includes the Karakoram) of Afghanistan and Pakistan. In addition to using satellite imagery, the pair have made multiple research trips to the Himalayas.

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The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s metropolitan university. The core values of the institution place students at the center of all that the university does; call for the campus to strive for academic excellence; and promote community engagement that transforms and improves urban, regional, national and global life. UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908.

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