Glacier Loss Likely to Continue


Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington and NIWA scientists are exploring the ongoing effects of climate change, including possible impacts from the Australian bushfires, on New Zealand’s glaciers.

Every year a group of scientists from the University and NIWA head out into the field for the End of Summer Snowline Survey. The survey has been running since the 1970s, surveying around 50 glaciers from the Nelson Lakes down to Fiordland to assess how much of the previous winter’s snow remains on each glacier to contribute towards long-term glacial ice accumulation.

“This year we actually excluded the glaciers furthest south, in Fiordland, and furthest north in the Nelson Lakes region—this is because they are just snow patches now and no longer glaciers,” says Dr Lauren Vargo from the University’s Antarctic Research Centre.

The survey involves taking thousands of photos which, along with 3D models created using the photos, will be used to assess changing snow levels on the glaciers.

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Image via Victoria University of Wellington