mountaineer byers joins coe as visiting bailey prof

Alton Byers, above the Imja Glacial Lake in the Mt. Everest region.

Alton C. Byers, Ph.D. is a mountain geographer, conservationist, and mountaineer specializing in applied research, high-altitude ecosystems, climate change, glacier hazards, and integrated conservation and development programs. He is a senior research affiliate at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the 2021-22 Menakka and Essel Bailey ’66 Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the College of the Environment. 

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where on earth are we going: examining glacier-related flood events

The development of glacial lakes from receding glaciers, contained by either terminal moraines or bedrock, is commonly linked with global warming trends that have occurred since the end of the Little Ice Age (LIA). Such lakes are prone to sudden and catastrophic drainage, popularly known as glacial lake outburst floods (GLOF). Although GLOFs continue to dominate the focus of both peer reviewed and popular media articles alike, a range of other cryospheric processes and hazards exist that are in need of further research attention and mitigation technologies.

Join Alton C. Byers, PhD, the 2021-22 Menakka and Essel Bailey ’66 Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the College of the Environment and a member of our 2021-22 COE Think Tank, for Recent Glacier-Related Flood Events in High Mountain Environments, a multimedia discussion of englacial conduit floods, periodic and recurrent flooding of lakes created by glacier- or ice-dammed lakes, permafrost-linked rockfall and debris flows, and earthquake-linked glacier floods. This event is the latest in the COE’s annual Where on Earth Are We Going? seminar series, sponsored by the Robert F. Schumann Institute of the College of the Environment. The event is a direct tie-in with this year’s COE Think Tank theme of visualizing environmental change. The event takes place Saturday, October 30, 2021, from 11 am to noon at Exley Science Center (Room 150) on the Wesleyan Campus.

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think tank explores ways to visualize environmental change

COE Think Tank
2021-22 Think Tank members, from top left: Olivia Baglieri ’22, Dylan Judd, Jennifer Raynor, Skye Hawthorne, Alton C. Byers, Helen Poulos, Suzanne O’Connell, Courtney Fullilove, Antonio Machado-Allison.

Each academic year, the COE gathers a small group of Wesleyan faculty members, a scholar of prominence from outside Wesleyan, and undergraduate students into a year-long academic think tank on a critical environmental issue. The aim of the COE Think Tank is not only to generate a deeper understanding of the thematic issue, but also to produce scholarly works that will influence national/international thinking and action on the issue. The Think Tank theme for 2021-22 is visualizing environmental change.

Our 2021-22 COE Think Tank faculty fellows are: Suzanne O’Connell, the Harold T. Stearns Professor of Earth Science; Jennifer Raynor, assistant professor of economics; Courtney Fullilove, associate professor of history; Helen Poulos, adjunct assistant professor of environmental studies; Antonio Machado-Allison, university professor in the College of the Environment; and Alton C. Byers, senior research scientist at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTARR) at the University of Colorado at Boulder and this year’s Menakka and Essel Bailey ‘66 Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the College of the Environment. Olivia Baglieri ’22, Dylan Judd ’22, and Skye Hawthorne ’22 will also be joining the Think Tank as student fellows this academic year.

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