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NYC - Public Lecture Series feat. Ulyana Nadia Horodyskyj


In Search of Black Ice: Science and Exploration in the Nepalese Himalaya

This event will be streamed live. Please visit our Live Stream page at 7pm on the evening of the event to view the lecture for free.

From September 2013 through June 2014, Ulyana Nadia Horodyskyj had the unique opportunity to live and work in the Nepalese Himalaya on a US Fulbright fellowship. During this time, she explored mechanisms for ice mass loss in the Himalaya: supraglacial lake formation in glacier ablation (melt) zones, and black carbon/dust deposition in glacier accumulation zones in eastern and central Nepal including the Solu-Khumbu, Annapurna, and NarPhu valleys. From surviving a near-drowning in a glacial river, climbing to over 6100 meters (20,000 feet) in search of samples, and losing a member of her team in the Everest avalanche, Horodyskyj will take you on a journey of discovery, exploration, hardship and heartbreak during her collection of scientific data from the Roof of the World.

Her project work launched in 2011, when she set up time-lapse cameras to track supraglacial (surface) lake changes on the Ngozumpa, a heavily debris-covered glacier in the Himalaya. This is one of Nepal’s largest glaciers, flowing from the flanks of Cho Oyu, the 6th highest peak in the world. Since the 1950s, despite this insulating pile of rock debris (the thicker it is, the harder it is for heat to reach the ice below), the Ngozumpa has been losing mass in the vertical direction in its melt zone and the lakes have been increasing in numbers and in size. These melt ponds/lakes contribute to the vertical demise of glacial ice, so it is important to study them over time in order to predict what their future may be.

Near Ngozumpa’s terminus, a larger lake has been growing in size through expansion and deepening since the 1980s. It may eventually pose a flooding hazard to Sherpa villages down-glacier, hence the importance in quantifying the physics responsible for its growth. Using photography, film, meteorological data, water temperature buoys, and side-scan sonar data, Ulyana tells the story of the changes she has witnessed in real-time, and what that may mean for the future of this glacier.

On the other ends of glaciers, at their accumulation zones, deposition of dust and black carbon (soot) from industry has the capacity to enhance melting of snow and ice. As these dark particles settle on the surfaces of glaciers, they can absorb more solar radiation, thereby accelerating melt by lessening snow/ice reflectivity. Through the fall and winter 2013, Ulyana collected snow samples across the Khumbu and Annapurna regions up to 6100 meters (20,000 feet), in preparation for a spring expedition to Mt. Everest/Lhotse with the American Climber Science Program, where the team would be pushing higher, to over 8000 meters (26,000 feet). Following the tragic avalanche on April 18, where a team member was lost, the project moved to Mt. Himlung, a peak in the remote NarPhu valley, to continue sampling and snow albedo (reflectivity) measurements. Another accident (crevasse fall) shut down their efforts on Mt. Himlung as well. Working in the high alpine has its hazards, which likely will only increase as temperatures continue to warm and pollution worsens.

Together, the data Ulyana has collected over the year provides a detailed insight into rapidly changing conditions at the top of the world.



Ms. Ulyana Nadia Horodyskyj is a PhD candidate (ABD) in geological sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder. She is also an Explorers Club Student Member and Grant Awardee. Prior to entering the program at CU, she completed a B.S. in Earth Sciences from Rice University (Houston, Texas) and a Masters of Science in planetary geology at Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island). Ulyana has published several articles in scientific journals; presented her findings at conferences nationally and internationally; guided student expeditions for National Geographic; taught glaciology in the North Cascades for a “Girls on Ice” science and mountaineering program; and is featured in “Planet Ice - Himalaya” (Productions Nova Media, Canada), a documentary on changing climate conditions in the Himalaya. From September 2013 – June 2014, as a recipient of a Fulbright fellowship, she logged nearly 1000 miles and tens of thousands of vertical feet in Nepal, collecting data on growing and deepening glacial lakes and wind-borne pollution effects in snowpack on peaks. By age 23, Ulyana had visited all 7 continents, with a particularly unique experience in Antarctica working on a research icebreaker. She enjoys writing and speaking to the public about important scientific topics.

Date: March 2nd, 2015

Time: 6:00pm Reception, 7:00pm Lecture

Location: Club Headquarters, 46 E 70th Street, New York, NY, 10021

Member Ticket Price: Free

Guest Ticket Price: $20

Student Ticket Price:

Free for EC Student Members, $5 w/ a valid Student ID

Reservation Notes:

Reservations are secured on a first-come, first-served basis.

To secure a place, call us at 212.628.8383 or email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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