I got logged out of my account! And then I had mocks - sorry about the delay getting back to you
My account is fairly new so it won't let me PM anyone, but I've attached below an example response I wrote to a past paper question (Edexcel paper 1 2018) about glacial landscapes. My answer scored 19/20, with the suggestion that distinguishing more between active and relict glacial landscapes would have got me full marks.
I did well in my mock so may be able to type up some of my answers from that paper and upload them here, especially for the compulsory topics (superpowers, tectonics, water cycle).
Evaluate the view that tourism poses the greatest threat to both active and relict glaciated landscapes. 20
Glaciated landscapes attract many tourists, who visit to celebrate the characteristic and distinctive landforms as well as for outdoor recreation purposes. However, tourism provides many threats to glaciated landscapes, through threatening biodiversity and increasing the demand for local energy consumption.
Many tourists visit active and relict glaciated landscapes for outdoor pursuits. The Lake District National Park, UK, is a relict glaciated landscape that receives 16 million tourists per year. Many tourists travel in cars, thus creating traffic congestion on narrow Lake District roads, as well as increasing local air pollution, which is trapped by the mountainous topography. Trekkers who travel on foot use delicate footpaths, often trampling native plants and reducing biodiversity in an area of fragile ecosystems; excessive travel on these footpaths causes footpath erosion. Excessive footpath erosion can cause gullies to form at the side of these footpaths, channelling rainfall downstream and causing further footpath erosion. This footpath erosion thins and compacts soils, reducing their infiltration capacity, and thus increasing the likelihood of overland flow and potential flooding. However, soil erosion is also caused by agriculture in the Lake District, as forested areas are cleared to provide area for sheep grazing. This increases rates of soil erosion and reduces the interception capacity, thus further exacerbating the risk of flooding.
Similarly, footpath erosion can be caused by the 1000 trekkers who travel through the active glacial landscape of the Sagarmatha National Park, Himalayas, each day. Additionally, a lack of litter bins causes many tourists dispose of litter by the roadside. Due to the high altitude and the environmental lapse rate, conditions are cold. This, together with a low atmospheric partial pressure of oxygen, rates of aerobic decay are low in the Himalayas, and so biodegradation of rubbish is very slow. Some of this ‘rubbish’ includes biohazards such as dead bodies, which could cause disease and pollute local water supplies. Although the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee non-governmental organisation removed 25 tonnes of rubbish from the National Park in 2010, conservationists argue this organisation lacks the authority to enforce tourists to remove their litter.
Agriculture also threatens the Himalayas, as deforestation enables the production of biofuel, which is a cheap energy source for relatively poor residents. This increases rates of soil erosion. Many local residents have been choosing to use kerosene instead, but this is a pollutive fossil fuel.
Although tourism is a threat to glacial landscapes, another great threat to glaciated landscapes is flooding. The mountainous topography typically associated with upland glaciated landscapes gives rise to orographic rainfall, which, when combined with heavy frontal rainfall due to depressions, creates extreme flooding, as the orographic rainfall saturates the soils, so very little frontal rainfall infiltrates. Storm Desmond of December 2015, in the Lake District, damaged 5200 houses and caused 3 fatalities. A 5m high flood wall on the River Greta, Keswick, was overcome as the discharge level reached 5.9m. Lake District towns such as Cockermouth had previously flooded in 2009; the town sits at the confluence of the Rivers Cocker and Derwent, and had flooded when the water level exceeded the riverbanks.
In addition, many Alpine villages near the relict glacial landscape of the Eifel mountains in West Germany flooded in July 2021 when heavy frontal rainfall combined with unprecedented volumes of glacial meltwater from the Alps (rates of glacial ablation in temperate glacial environments are highest in the summer). Over half of the houses in the village of Schuld were destroyed, and 243 people throughout continental Europe died.
One flood prevention strategy for relict glaciated landscapes such as the Lake District is the local management of flooding upstream to prevent towns on floodplains flooding. However, this requires the construction of reservoirs upstream, thus flooding forested areas and reducing biodiversity. The anaerobic decay associated with flooded forests releases methane, a very potent greenhouse gas, which exacerbates anthropogenic climate change.
Perhaps the most major threat to glaciated landscapes, both active and relict, is anthropogenic climate change. 90% of glaciers worldwide have retreated since the 1960s, and Arctic amplification ensures that polar ice masses (Greenland/Antarctica) are being lost at an unprecedented rate, as the ablation of ice reduces the albedo effect, so more insolation is absorbed, causing further ablation. Climate change increases the incidence of heavy frontal rainfall – and indeed, the severe depression that caused the July 2021 Eifel mountain floods has been linked to climate change. This rainfall can leach agricultural fertilisers into freshwater bodies, causing eutrophication, which limits potable water supply and decimates fragile freshwater ecosystems in upland glaciated environments. The south basin of Lake Windermere, Lake District, typically suffers from eutrophication. In addition, rapid ablation of glacial ice due to increased temperatures will disrupt river regimes in the central Himalayas, as well as the regimes of the Indus and Brahmaputra rivers, which are fed by glacial meltwater streams. This will limit potable water supply for Himalayan residents.
However, there is evidence to suggest that anthropogenic climate change will increase precipitation as snowfall, which could cause net glacial accumulation, particularly in Pakistani Himalayan glaciers.
Overall, it is anthropogenic climate change that poses the greatest threat to active and relict glaciated landscapes, not tourism. Whilst tourism poses some threats such as footpath erosion and littering, climate change deeply threatens the mass balance of glaciers, causing net ablation and disrupting meltwater streams and thus water supplies, as well as causing excessive precipitation, which can cause flooding and eutrophication, both of which threaten the fragile ecosystems supported by glaciated landscapes. Additionally, the threat of tourism is more easily managed than the threat of anthropogenic climate change (the Antarctic Treaty restricts Antarctic tourists to 40,000 per year), and thus can be mitigated to protect glaciated landscapes.