Alpine Glacier Project

As a child, by his own admission he always loved 'big mountains' so it's fitting that Professor David Collins has been leading University of Salford teams into the Swiss Alps for the past 13 summers.

For many areas of research, taking a long view is essential in unravelling cause and effect relationships, as well as significant trends and their consequences. Now almost 40 years on, the Alpine Glacier Project is a prime example of scientific persistence.

Along with its central research objectives, this project provides the opportunity for practical experience for students taking part in field courses and for sustained periods of individual fieldwork for undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations. Around 50 students visit the Alps each Summer along with David, supported by his colleague, Dr Neil Entwistle.

"Taking a long view is essential in unravelling cause and effect relationships" - Professor David Collins

David explains, "At the heart of the Alpine Glacier Project is the detailed annual measurement of characteristics in the rivers that drain from the Findelen and Gorner glaciers in Switzerland – the longest meltwater series in the world. As we bring in more information year on year, we can monitor climate change and its effects and become clearer about the overall balance between climate, glacier mass and the meltwater system.

"By using our findings here, we can learn more about other parts of the world, such as the Himalyas where meltwater availability is critical for hydropower production, irrigation and water resources development, and where floods have devastating impacts on humanity."

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