Snow and ice on Earth, that is the cryosphere, is experiencing rapid reduction in response to climate warming. Cryosphere changes include the wasting of frozen soils,
seasonal snow cover, Arctic sea ice and freshwater ice. These cryospheric changes are impacting physical, chemical, and biological systems, resulting for example in sea level
rise and associated reductions in freshwater resources. Some of the most dynamic cryospheric changes are occurring in the southern hemisphere, including the Andes, the Antarctic
Peninsula and West Antarctica. This unique conference, organised by Centro de Estudios Científicos (CECS), will bring together leading international scientists to discuss ongoing
cryospheric and climate changes in the southern hemisphere and their impacts and consequences on society and the environment. The conference counts with the scientific sponsorship
of the International Association of Cryospheric Sciences (IACS) and the Climate and Cryosphere (CliC) Project of WCRP-IASC-SCAR.
Although there is general consensus regarding current climatic changes at global and regional scales, there is a lack of knowledge at the local level regarding the specific features
of these changes, their impacts on the environment, society and economics, and proposed adaptation, mitigation and management policies. Moreover, most of the knowledge about these
issues is currently derived from the northern hemisphere, with a significant lack of information from the southern hemisphere. Filling this information gap will be the particular
focus of the upcoming Conference.
Some questions to be addressed are: What is the current extension of the cryosphere in the southern hemisphere and what changes is it presently experiencing? Is climate
the main driver of these cryospheric changes? What is the role of non-climatic factors such as ice dynamics? Is there a cyclicity to present ice-climate changes or are
we experiencing secular trends due to anthropogenic forcing? Can we identify tipping points in the Earth-climate system? What are the present and future impacts of these
cryospheric changes? What are the primary similarities and differences when contrasted with the cryospheric components of the northern hemisphere? How is society responding
to climate change issues? How can we address climate changes in a way that is also compatible with other urgent development needs? What can be achieved by the general
public in order to tackle this problem?
The Conference will be held at the headquarters of the Centro de Estudios Científicos (CECS) in Valdivia, southern Chile, from Monday through Wednesday February 1-3, 2010, as
part of the bicentennial celebration of Chile’s Independence. An icebreaker welcome will take place on Sunday, 31 January. Pre- and post-Conference tours will be organised to
the nearby Lake District, combining visits to active volcanoes, glaciers, lakes, native forests and hot springs with the introduction of research topics on climate changes
currently being performed by Chilean scientists.
The Conference is open to scientists, professionals and general public interested in the topic of climate changes. The Conference will include the presence of prominent
world experts in glaciology and climate changes, including members of the Scientific Steering Group of the Climate and Cryosphere (CliC) Project of WCRP-SCAR, who will
meet in Valdivia immediately following the Conference. The experts will lead open discussions regarding recent scientific advances in climate changes and glaciology.
Posters sessions will be held in addition to photographic exhibitions on climate change issues. One of the goals of the Conference is to produce a summary of cryosphere
changes and their predicted impacts, with the aim of informing the general public and decision makers on adaptation and mitigation strategies to deal with the consequences
of climate change.