50 Physical Geography News Stories from 2014
In 2014, EUROGEO (the European Association of Geographers) completed 35 years of operation. This is the latest of a series of blog posts celebrating this anniversary by looking back at 2014 from the posts in the monthly newsletter of the association. Subscribe to the EUROGEO newsletter
With the intense cold air over North America at the start of 2014, there were many stories related to the “Polar Vortex” (http://t.co/fvlX7ERRYS) and the deep freeze over North America http://t.co/pQaDmxKEgh. The controversy continues about trying to understand the planet and whether extreme conditions like this are being increasd because of greenhouse gases.
The discovery of a massive ancient trench under Antarctica, carved millions of years ago by a small ice field, also hit the news early in the year. Other stories about the continent related to the Pine Island glacier rift, which according to research expanded throughout 2013, leading to possible calving of a large iceberg in the future and the ‘irreversible’ nature of the glacier retreat there, reported by BBC News.
Studies and published research on the current and recent rates of glacial retreat continued throughout the year, for instance as evidenced on a YouTube video of Glacier retreat, the Disappearing glaciers summary and Disappearing Glaciers Storymap. Meanwhile Peru, home to 70% of world’s tropical glaciers, confirmed their glaciers have shrunk by almost half in the past 40 years. The announcement that an inventory of all the worlds glaciers has been completed, with details of more than 200,000 glaciers is very welcome.
The examination of palaeoclimates and ecosystem changes has also been chronicled, through ocean sediment analysis, cosmogenic 10Be dating in Scotland, ice cores from Antarctica, using moss banks , gravity sensing and radioactive dating techniques.
The role of physical geography studies assisting planning dilemmas was highlighted in using snow sensing to predict water shortages, as part of the Stiffkey, UK Catchment Plan and the discussion whether coastal Britain should surrender to the tides?
The uses of satellite technologies as well as open data was described in Taking Earth’s Temperature from Space and from the Sentinel mission . Older technology was described in a Glaciers message in a bottle. Open data products have been made available from CryoSat-2 for Ice and Oceans and via a
collection of USGS topographic maps.
In 2014 researchers also reported on the discovery of a massive ocean near earths core and the most accurate space view of the ocean circulation, the Goce gravity map of global ocean currents and the speed at which they move.
The 2014 Physical Geography stories are available at http://eurogeography.eu/eurogeo-newsletter/news-2014-physicalgeo.html