Glacier in Antarctica named after Glasgow climate summit

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A glacier in far-away Antarctica has been formally named Glasgow Glacier in honour of this Scottish city hosting the high-level UN climate summit which formally opened here on Sunday, kicking off two weeks of intense diplomatic talks on curbing global warming.

The 100-km long body of ice, which has been experiencing rapid melting, was formally named by researchers at the University of Leeds to mark the 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a stark reminder of why such an urgent action is needed.

“Glasgow represents our best chance. Just as the G-20 shares a collective responsibility to act, so the solutions are in our hands. I hope countries will gather next week in a spirit of responsibility and ambition so we can keep the goal of 1.5 degrees alive,” Johnson asserted.

Besides Glasgow, the eight newly named glaciers are Geneva, Rio, Berlin, Kyoto, Bali, Stockholm, Paris and Incheon – all named after cities hosting important UN climate meetings

PhD Researcher Heather Selley, from Leeds’ School of Earth and Environment, has identified 14 glaciers in the Getz Basin of West Antarctica that are thinning by an average of 25 per cent between 1994 and 2018 due to climate change.

Her study, published in February 2021, found that 315 gigatonnes of ice were lost from the region in the last 25 years.

In essence, this is equivalent to 126 million Olympic-sized swimming pools of water.

Selley and Dr Anna Hogg had requested that the nine unnamed glaciers in the study be named after locations of major climate treaties, reports and conferences, the most recent being the one named after the Glasgow summit.

Her proposal was submitted by the UK government and supported by the UK Antarctic Place-names committee.

The names will now be added to the International Composite Gazetteer for Antarctica, for the use on maps, charts and future publications.

“Naming the glaciers after the locations of major climate treaties, conferences and reports is a great way to celebrate the international collaboration on climate change science and policy over the last 42 years,” Selly explained.

“We wanted to permanently mark the outstanding effort the scientific community has put into measuring the present-day impact of climate change and its predicted future evolution,” she said.

Dramatic changes in ice cover and images of Antarctica have become synonymous with climate change.

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