By Professor of Geophysics Regine Hock
More than 260 glaciologists from around the world gathered at UAF 24-29 June for the annual symposium of the International Glaciological Society which was hosted by the Geophysical Institute.
More than 80 oral presentations and almost 200 poster presentations were given on the symposiums' theme "Glaciers and ice sheets in a warming climate".
Many presentations confirmed that glaciers around the world are retreating and thinning with direct implications for sea-level rise and streamflow.
In addition to professional exchanges, the symposium also provided ample opportunity for social interactions outside of the lecture hall. For example, a banquet was held on the riverboat Discovery on the Chena River and a bar-be-queue at the Museum of the North.
Half way through the conference participants could chose between different afternoon excursions in the vicinity of Fairbanks including Chena Hotsprings, the CRREL permafrost tunnel, gold-panning and a visit at the rocket launch facility at Poker Flats.
About 40 participants participated in a 2-day pre-excursion to Denali Nationalpark. During the bus ride to Eielson Visitor Center 11 grizzly bears were spotted. The following day some participants did flight-seeing around Denali in cloud-free weather while others spent time hiking or white-water rafting.
Immediately after the symposium, more than 50 participants (plus 20 one-day participants who departed in the evening of the first day) began a 4-day excursion to Valdez. The trip included two longer hikes on Gulkana and Worthington Glacier and a full-day sight-seeing cruise from Valdez to the fjords of Columbia and Meares Glaciers. Participants enjoyed not only the mighty glaciers flowing into the ocean but also various wildlife including whales, sea otters, sea lions and eagles.