Member Highlight: Alien Waters: Neighboring Seas Are Flowing into a Warming Arctic Ocean

2018-05-14T14:17:29+00:00 May 14, 2018|

(Credit: Pablo Clemente-Colon / National Ice Center) Above Scandinavia, on the Atlantic side of the Arctic Ocean, mackerel, cod, and other fish native to the European coast are migrating through increasingly ice-free waters, heading deeper into the Arctic Basin toward Siberia. . (From Yale Environment 360/ By Cheryl Katz) -- Thousands of miles to the west, [...]

Member Highlight: Study Reveals New Antarctic Process Contributing To Sea Level Rise And Climate Change

2018-04-20T17:04:13+00:00 April 20, 2018|

(Credit: Alessandro Silvano) A new IMAS-led study has revealed a previously undocumented process where melting glacial ice sheets change the ocean in a way that further accelerates the rate of ice melt and sea level rise. (From -- Led by IMAS PhD student Alessandro Silvano and published in the journal Science Advances, the [...]

Member Highlight: Ice Cores Show Greenland’s Melting Is Unprecedented In At Least Four Centuries

2018-04-02T11:35:51+00:00 March 30, 2018|

(Credit: Forrest McCarthy) Scientists who crossed western Greenland with a fleet of snowmobiles, pulling up long cylinders of ice at camps a little more than a mile above sea level, have found evidence that the vast sheet of ice is melting faster than at any time in the past 450 years at least — and possibly much longer than that. [...]

Unusual Weather Accelerates Arctic Sea Ice Loss

2018-01-18T17:56:12+00:00 January 18, 2018|

(Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) New research suggests weather anomalies are to blame for intense periods of accelerating Arctic sea ice loss. (From UPI/ By Brooks Hays) -- While research has confirmed links between global warming, rising Arctic temperatures and ongoing sea ice loss, variability remains. A pair of new studies conducted [...]

El Nino’s Long Reach To Antarctic Ice

2018-01-16T10:06:42+00:00 January 16, 2018|

Antarctica may be thousands of kilometres from the central Pacific but events there can have a significant effect on the White Continent's ice. (From BBC News/ By Jonathan Amos) -- Scientists have shown how ice shelves - the floating fronts of marine-terminating glaciers - respond to the El Niño phenomenon. The warming of tropical eastern [...]

Watchdog: Pentagon Taking Few Steps To Prepare Overseas Bases For Climate Change

2017-12-15T13:16:38+00:00 December 15, 2017|

The Pentagon has taken few steps to prepare its overseas installations for climate change, a government watchdog said Wednesday. (From The Hill/ By Rebecca Kheel) -- “While the military services have begun to integrate climate change adaptation into installations’ plans and project designs, this integration has been limited,” the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in a report [...]

Extreme Fieldwork, Climate Modeling Yields New Insight Into Predicting Greenland’s Melt

2017-12-12T12:37:33+00:00 December 12, 2017|

Greenland (Credit: Matthew Cooper) A new UCLA-led study reinforces the importance of collaboration in assessing the effects of climate change. The research, published Dec. 5 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, offers new insights about previously unknown factors affecting Greenland's melting ice sheet, and it could ultimately help scientists [...]

Future Arctic Sea Ice Loss Could Dry Out California

2017-12-07T12:24:48+00:00 December 7, 2017|

(Credit: Graphic by Kathy Seibert/LLNL) Arctic sea ice loss of the magnitude expected in the next few decades could impact California's rainfall and exacerbate future droughts, according to new research led by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists. (From Science Daily)-- The dramatic loss of Arctic sea ice cover observed over the satellite [...]

Satellites Spy Antarctic ‘Upside-Down Ice Canyon’

2017-10-11T16:45:52+00:00 October 11, 2017|

Scientists have identified a way in which the effects of Antarctic melting can be enhanced. Their new satellite observations of the Dotson Ice Shelf show its losses, far from being even, are actually focused on a long, narrow sector. In places, this has cut an inverted canyon through more than half the thickness of the shelf structure. If the melting continued unabated, it would break Dotson in 40-50 years, not the 200 years currently projected. "That is unlikely to happen because the ice will respond in some way to the imbalance," said Noel Gourmelen, from the University of Edinburgh, UK. "It's possible the area of thinning could widen or the flow of ice could change. Both would affect the rate at which the channel forms. But ...

Big Antarctic Iceberg Edges Out To Sea

2017-09-26T17:57:33+00:00 September 26, 2017|

The giant berg A-68 looks finally to be on the move. Recent weeks have seen it shuffle back and forth next to the Antarctic ice shelf from which it broke away. But the latest satellite imagery now indicates the near-6,000 sq km block is swinging out into the Weddell Sea.

Now We Know How Much Glacial Melting ‘Watermelon Snow’ Can Cause

2017-09-25T17:14:20+00:00 September 25, 2017|

Algae that tinge snow red are to blame for about a sixth of the snowmelt at an Alaskan ice field. Microbes are pushing glacial snow into the red. An alga species that grows on glaciers gives the snow a crimson hue, which increases the amount of sunlight that the snow soaks up and makes it melt faster, new measurements confirm. On Alaska’s Harding Icefield, these microbes are responsible for about a sixth of the snowmelt in algae-tinged areas, researchers report September 18 in Nature Geoscience. The finding suggests that future climate simulations, unlike current ones, should account for the effects of these algae when making predictions about glacial melt.

Satellites Measuring Earth’s Melting Ice Sheets To Go Dark

2017-09-20T09:05:25+00:00 September 20, 2017|

A sentinel of Earth’s climate is going dark. After running for a decade beyond its planned life, the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) is nearly out of fuel and will soon make its final science run, NASA announced late yesterday. The tandem of satellites—called GRACE-1 and GRACE-2—measure minute shifts in Earth’s gravity to chart flows of mass across the planet, such as the unexpectedly rapid melt of polar ice sheets and the drawdown of underground water reservoirs called aquifers.

Member Highlight: How Openings In Antarctic Sea Ice Affect Worldwide Climate

2017-09-14T11:38:37+00:00 September 14, 2017|

In 1974, images acquired from NOAA satellites revealed a puzzling phenomenon: a 250,000 square kilometer opening in the winter sea ice in the Weddell Sea, south of South America. The opening, known as a polynya, persisted over three winters. Such expansive ice-free areas in the ocean surrounding Antarctica have not been seen since, though a small polynya was seen last year.

Unraveling A Major Cause Of Sea Ice Retreat In The Arctic Ocean

2017-09-08T10:13:19+00:00 September 8, 2017|

Quantitative analysis has evidenced the acceleration system of melting ice: dark water surfaces absorb more heat than white ice surfaces, thus melting ice and making more water surfaces in the Arctic Ocean. Ice-covered sea areas in the Arctic Ocean during summer have nearly halved since the 1970s and 1980s, raising alarm that the ocean is shifting from a multiyear to a seasonal ice zone. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has forecasted summer ice cover in the polar ocean might disappear almost completely as early as 2050. Various factors have been cited as causes, including rising temperatures and changes in atmospheric circulation patterns.

Another Climate-change Nightmare: 91 New Volcanoes Beneath Antarctica’s Ice

2017-08-18T13:06:38+00:00 August 18, 2017|

Antarctica has been having a rough time of it lately, you may have heard. You know — greenhouse gases, warming oceans, trillion-ton icebergs breaking off the continent like a middle-aged man losing hair in the sink. Not the best century for the old South Pole. And now it turns out Antarctica has problems we didn't even know about. Deep problems. Volcanoes-under-the-ice problems, which doesn't sound healthy.

Forget That Big Iceberg–A Smaller One In The Arctic Is More Troubling

2017-08-02T09:14:09+00:00 August 2, 2017|

The world saw headlines about one of the largest icebergs ever calved a few weeks ago. But a smaller one on the other end of the globe might have bigger consequences. The chunk of ice, which broke free in the Arctic last week, is more worrisome to climate scientists who are watching one of Earth's largest glaciers shed pieces in a way that stands to raise sea levels.

Member Highlight: A New Model Yields Insights Into Glaciers’ Retreats And Advances

2018-01-02T13:54:31+00:00 July 31, 2017|

A University of Alaska Fairbanks study looking at the physics of tidewater glaciers has yielded new insights into what drives their retreat-and-advance cycles and the role that climate plays in these cycles. Lead author and UAF geophysics doctoral student Douglas Brinkerhoff said the study in Nature Communications reveals that shifting sediments drive the cycles among tidewater glaciers in temperate climates such as southern Alaska.

Scientists Harness Wind To Study Greenland Ice Sheet

2017-07-14T09:36:14+00:00 July 14, 2017|

Ross Edwards wasn’t sure what he’d gotten himself into when he arrived in Kangerlussuaq this past May to begin a month-long traverse of the Greenland ice sheet. His four teammates were busy assembling the strange vehicle they would use to cross the barren ice – a train of wooden sleds pulled by a giant kite. But Edwards, an earth scientist at Curtin University in Perth, Australia, worried that it wasn’t up to the task. “Man, this looks like a futon,” he thought.

One Of The Biggest Icebergs In Recorded History Just Broke Loose From Antarctica

2017-07-12T13:31:17+00:00 July 12, 2017|

Scientists announced Wednesday that a much anticipated break at the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica has occurred, unleashing a massive iceberg that is more than 2,200 square miles in area and weighs a trillion tons. In other words, the iceberg — among the largest in recorded history to splinter off the Antarctic continent — is close to the size of Delaware and consists of almost four times as much ice as the fast melting ice sheet of Greenland loses in a year. It is expected to be given the name “A68” soon, scientists said.

Scientists Just Proved That Wildfires Dumped A Huge Amount Of Soot Atop Greenland’s Ice Sheet

2017-06-27T09:21:36+00:00 June 27, 2017|

Scientists have for the first time tracked soot from Canadian wildfires all the way to the Greenland ice sheet, where they found that the dark, sunlight-absorbing particles landed on the ice and had the potential to significantly enhance its melting — pointing to a possible new driver of sea level rise. It’s the first end-to-end documentation of a process that, it’s feared, could hasten Greenland’s melting in the future — and since the ice sheet could contribute over 20 feet of eventual sea level rise, any such process is one that scientists weigh carefully.

Faster-Moving Sea Ice Forces Polar Bears To Use More Energy

2017-06-15T12:49:07+00:00 June 15, 2017|

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Rapid global warming has sped up the movement of sea ice off Alaska’s coasts, and already at-risk polar bears are paying a price, a new U.S. study says. Most sea ice moves throughout the year and the iconic white bears are on a perpetual walk to stay within their preferred habitat, said U.S. Geological Survey research ecologist George Durner, lead author of the study. He compares it to living on a treadmill that has picked up speed because ice is thinner, more brittle and moving faster because of wind and ocean currents.

Member Highlight: Miles Of Ice Collapsing Into The Sea

2017-05-22T10:27:45+00:00 May 22, 2017|

The acceleration is making some scientists fear that Antarctica’s ice sheet may have entered the early stages of an unstoppable disintegration. Because the collapse of vulnerable parts of the ice sheet could raise the sea level dramatically, the continued existence of the world’s great coastal cities — Miami, New York, Shanghai and many more — is tied to Antarctica’s fate.

Warm Winds Are Weakening Antarctic Ice Shelves

2017-05-04T14:31:30+00:00 May 3, 2017|

New research suggests warm winds in Antarctica are becoming more prevalent and are playing a role in the weakening the continent's ice shelves. Föhn, or foehn, winds are warm, dry winds that blow downhill on the leeward side of a mountain range. New research by scientists with the British Antarctic Survey suggests foehn winds in Antarctica are occurring farther south and more frequently than previously thought.

Iceberg ‘Doodles’ Trace Climate History

2017-05-02T14:49:17+00:00 May 2, 2017|

It is as if a child has been doodling with large coloured crayons. What you see are actually the great gouge marks left on the seafloor when the keel of a giant block of ice has dragged through the sediments. The arcs and loops record the movement of the berg as it turns about, caught in the wind, currents and tides. This "ice art" is from a stunning new collection of images that detail how glacial action has shaped the ocean floor in Earth's polar regions. The atlas is the work of more than 250 scientists from 20 countries and represents our most comprehensive view yet of what the seabed looks like at high latitudes.

Engineers Help Arctic Ships Assess Ice Buildup

2017-02-17T10:29:51+00:00 February 17, 2017|

As global temperatures rise and arctic ice melts, more ships are taking advantage of expedient, yet dangerous ocean routes that are opening in the polar region. One of the main hazards of sailing in freezing temperatures is topside icing, in which water blown from the ocean freezes once it contacts a ship, potentially accumulating enough ice to put the vessel at risk of capsizing.

Global Sea Ice at Record Low: What Happens When All the Ice Melts?

2017-02-14T12:30:14+00:00 February 14, 2017|

We're in the final month of meteorological winter, and Arctic sea ice extent continues to set record lows. The low amounts of ice, compared to average, in the Arctic region have been an ongoing concern since November, and hasn't let up through the start of February. Ice extent in the Arctic region set daily record lows through most of January, leading to the lowest January extent in the 38-year satellite record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

Most Meltwater In Greenland Fjords Likely Comes From Icebergs

2017-01-11T12:33:58+00:00 January 11, 2017|

New study finds that 10% to 50% of iceberg melting happens in the fjords, not in the open ocean as assumed by previous research. Icebergs contribute more meltwater to Greenland’s fjords than previously thought, losing up to half of their volume as they move through the narrow inlets, according to new research. Greenland, the world’s largest island, is almost entirely covered by a permanent ice sheet that has been shrinking and melting as global warming increases temperatures. In fjords, narrow inlets where glaciers meet the sea, ice breaks off from glaciers to form dense packs of icebergs.

West Antarctic Ice Shelf Breaking Up from the Inside Out

2017-01-06T15:04:26+00:00 January 6, 2017|

Pine Island Glacier and its nearby twin, Thwaites Glacier, sit at the outer edge of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Like corks in a bottle, the two glaciers block ice flow and keep nearly 10% of the ice sheet from draining into the sea. Studies have suggested that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is particularly unstable and could collapse within the next 100 years.

The Arctic Just Received Its Annual Report Card, And It’s Not Good

2016-12-16T08:14:20+00:00 December 16, 2016|

The world’s air conditioner is on the fritz. Unprecedented, record-breaking warmth in the Arctic this year triggered declines in sea ice, snow, the Greenland ice sheet and a remarkable delay in the annual freeze of sea ice in the fall. Overall, the Arctic experienced its warmest year ever recorded. “Rarely have we seen the Arctic show a clearer, stronger or more pronounced signal of persistent warming and its cascading effects on the environment than this year,” said Jeremy Mathis, director of NOAA’s Arctic research program, which released its annual Arctic Report Card on Tuesday.

Polar Bear Population, Threatened By Shrinking Sea Ice, Could Drop 30 Percent In 40 Years

2016-12-09T09:27:06+00:00 December 9, 2016|

Emblematic of the effects of climate change, polar bears have once again been shown to be highly vulnerable due to shrinking sea ice levels throughout the range of their habitat. A study published Wednesday by an international team of researchers found a 71 percent chance that over 30 percent of Earth’s polar bear population could be gone in 35-41 years.

Rapidly Changing Arctic Braces For Destabilization

2016-12-01T10:37:47+00:00 December 1, 2016|

Global warming’s transformation of the Arctic is having a cascading effect, with some changes to the region worsening others. The loss of sea ice is the most visible, and temperatures almost 40 degrees above normal certainly garner attention. However, there are other important changes such as the loss of permafrost, the collapse of certain species in the food chain and the damage to fisheries caused by higher sea temperatures.Perhaps more troubling is that those changes are often interlinked, and one shift can trigger a series of others, a new report has found.

‘Heroic’ Antarctic Explorers Left Sea-Ice Clues

2016-11-30T10:12:07+00:00 November 30, 2016|

Log books from the early Antarctic expeditions indicate that the area of summer sea-ice around the continent has barely changed in size in a century. Researchers have studied the records of pioneering explorers, including Captain Robert Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton. The study suggests that Antarctic sea-ice is much less sensitive to climate change than the Arctic, which has declined dramatically.

The Arctic Is Seriously Weird Right Now

2016-11-30T10:05:47+00:00 November 30, 2016|

The sun set on the North Pole more than a month ago, not to rise again until spring. Usually that serves as a cue for sea ice to spread its frozen tentacles across the Arctic Ocean. But in the depths of the polar night, a strange thing started to happen in mid-October. Sea ice growth slowed to a crawl and even started shrinking for a bit. Intense warmth in both the air and oceans is driving the mini-meltdown at a time when Arctic sea ice should be rapidly growing. This follows last winter, when temperatures saw a huge December spike.

Huge Glacier Retreat Triggered in 1940s

2016-12-01T11:27:54+00:00 November 29, 2016|

The melting Antarctic glacier that now contributes more to sea-level rise than any other ice stream on the planet began its big decline in the 1940s. This is when warm ocean water likely first got under Pine Island Glacier (PIG) to loosen the secure footing it had enjoyed up until that point. Researchers figured out the timing by dating the sediments beneath the PIG. It puts the glacier’s current changes in their proper historical context, the scientists tell Nature magazine.

Study Links Human Actions To Specific Arctic Sea Ice Melt

2016-11-07T09:09:20+00:00 November 7, 2016|

Driving a gas-powered car about 90 miles — the distance between New York and Philadelphia — melts about a square foot of Arctic sea ice in the critical month of September, according to a new study that directly links carbon pollution to the amount of ice that's thawing. At current carbon emission levels, the Arctic will likely be free of sea ice in September around mid-century, which could make weather even more extreme and strand some polar animals, a study published Thursday in the journal Science finds.

These Antarctic Glaciers Have Experienced Staggering Ice Loss- And Scientists Think They Know Why

2016-10-28T11:20:42+00:00 October 28, 2016|

Few regions of the world are as unstable in the face of advancing climate change as frozen West Antarctica, where rapidly melting glaciers have scientists on edge about the potential for huge amounts of future sea-level rise. Now, a new study has pinpointed some of the most rapid ice losses observed in the region in the past 15 years — and it supports a growing scientific belief that warm ocean water is behind the melting.

Ice Shelf Vibrations Cause Unusual Waves In Antarctic Atmosphere

2016-10-26T06:23:56+00:00 October 26, 2016|

Low-frequency vibrations of the Ross Ice Shelf are likely causing ripples and undulations in the air above Antarctica, a new study finds. Using mathematical models of the ice shelf, the study's authors show how vibrations in the ice match those seen in the atmosphere, and are likely causing these mysterious atmospheric waves.

Greenland May Be Losing Ice Even Faster Than We Thought

2016-09-27T14:32:17+00:00 September 27, 2016|

Rapidly melting Greenland may be shedding its ice even faster than anyone suspected, new research suggests. A study just out in the journal Science Advances finds that previous studies may have underestimated the current rate of mass loss on the Greenland ice sheet by about 20 billion tons per year.

2016 Ties With 2007 For Second Lowest Arctic Sea Ice Minimum

2016-09-20T08:50:25+00:00 September 20, 2016|

The Arctic's ice cover appears to have reached its minimum extent on September 10, 2016, according to scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). Arctic sea ice extent on that day stood at 4.14 million square kilometers (1.60 million square miles), statistically tied at second lowest in the satellite record with the 2007 minimum. The 2007 minimum occurred on September 18 of that year, when Arctic sea ice extent stood at 4.15 million square kilometers (1.60 million square miles).

Subantarctic Seabed Creatures Shed New Light On Past Climate

2016-09-06T14:06:19+00:00 September 6, 2016|

A new marine biodiversity study in one of the largest Marine Protected Areas in the world reveals the impact of environmental change on subantarctic seabed animals and answers big questions about the extent of South Georgia's ice sheet during the Last Glacial Maximum around 20,000 years ago.

NASA Science Flights Target Melting Arctic Sea Ice

2016-07-22T10:49:42+00:00 July 22, 2016|

This summer, with sea ice across the Arctic Ocean shrinking to below-average levels, a NASA airborne survey of polar ice just completed its first flights. Its target: aquamarine pools of melt water on the ice surface that may be accelerating the overall sea ice retreat.

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