Climate change redirects Canadian river

2017-04-19 16:06
(iStock)

(iStock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Ottawa - The retreat of one of Canada's largest glaciers has changed the flow of a northern river almost overnight in an extreme case of what researchers call climate change "river piracy".

The discovery of the Slims River diversion away from the Bering Sea into another watershed that empties into the Pacific Ocean was published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Gerard Roe, co-author of the study and a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle in the US state of Washington, said that the Slims riverbed had dried up in only four days.

"The habitat was altered," he said in a telephone interview. "The chemistry and biology of the water changed dramatically."

Researchers led by Canadian geomorphologist Daniel Shugar of the University of Washington in Tacoma had travelled to Canada's northern Yukon Territory last August to study the river's currents, but it was gone.

River diversion

They traced its mysterious disappearance to the Slims River's headwaters, where they found a glacial barrier that once routed its flow northward into the Bering Sea had been breached in the spring.

This "abruptly and radically" altered drainage from the Kaskawulsh Glacier spring melt, according to the study and sent the river in the opposite direction into the Pacific Ocean, 1 300km away from where the mouth of the river used to be.

Shugar and his team used computer models to show the fast glacier melt - and the subsequent river diversion - was due to global climate change and not natural temperature fluctuations over centuries.

Such changes, they warned in the study, can have "profound downstream impacts" on ecosystems and communities that rely on the discharge.


Read more on:    canada  |  global warming

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/World
 

For the love of Corgis!

WATCH: 35 Corgi's to make your day! If they’re good enough for the Queen of England they’re good enough for us.

 
 

Paws

Can we communicate with our pets?
8 great natural remedies for your pet
Buying a puppy? Don’t get scammed!
WATCH: These funny animal videos will make you LOL!
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.