Texas A&M University-Kingsville

A&M-Kingsville Geosciences Faculty Member Shares Climate Change Findings at International Conference in Korea

KINGSVILLE - July 01, 2009

Contact: Jason Marton
jason.marton@tamuk.edu or 361.593.4143

Can a researcher based in South Texas study climate change in Antarctica, compile those findings into a report and present it at a global conference in Korea?

Ask Dr. Jaehyung Yu, assistant professor of geosciences at Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

Using surface images and data gathered by the Landsat 7 satellite—jointly managed by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey—Yu studied the snow of Eastern Antarctica’s Lambert Glacier and its basin, the largest in the world. The purpose was to see what effect, if any, global warming has had on the region.

A number of researchers have shown that global warming is having an effect in Western Antarctica, where ice sheet melting is contributing to a rise in global sea levels. Yu found a different story for Eastern Antarctica.

“My results show that large portions of Eastern Antarctica are not experiencing mass loss,” said Yu. “My results indicate the climatic conditions of the world’s largest glacial basin more likely does not show global warming trend for 15 years period from 1988 to 2002.

“When we are talking about the global warming, we have to accept local variations. Therefore, we can not say the result fits into the overall picture of global warming. Large portions of Eastern Antarctica are not contributing to global sea level rise.”

Yu presented his findings in June at the 16th International Symposium on Polar Sciences in Incheon, Korea. This international forum featured world-renowned researchers from the United Kingdom, the U.S., Korea, Japan, China and Finland, among many other countries.

“It was a good opportunity to show the quality of our research and introduce our research team to the outside world,” said Yu.

His report, titled “Study of Dry and Melt Snow Zones of Lambert Glacier–Amery Ice Shelf, Antarctica Using ETM + Data,” will be published in the fall.

For Yu, the Antarctica work means much more than just a career credit. “One of my dreams in high school was to help keep the Earth healthy, and that's why I chose geology for my major in college.

“As I was exposed to geospatial technology, I fell in love with it, and I knew that it can be very useful helping Earth stay healthy in many aspects. Global warming and sea level rise is a very critical issue related to the health of the Earth as well as survival of human beings. The mass balance study of Antarctica perfectly fits into the geospatial discipline I love and my dream helping the Earth stay healthy.”

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