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26 December 2019

Llamas could help replenish plant life after glaciers retreat

The rapid retreat of glaciers from alpine regions around the world could result in widespread ecosystem losses, according to new research. Now, scientists are exploring a hairy solution to this hairy problem in the form of llamas.

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15 October 2019

Radioactive chlorine from nuclear bomb tests still present in Antarctica

Antarctica’s ice sheets are still releasing radioactive chlorine from marine nuclear weapons tests in the 1950s, a new study finds. This suggests regions in Antarctica store and vent the radioactive element differently than previously thought. The results also improve scientists’ ability to use chlorine to learn more about Earth’s atmosphere.

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14 August 2019

Unprecedented 2018 Bering Sea ice loss repeated in 2019

Sea ice in the Bering Sea reached record-low levels during winter 2018, thanks to persistent warm southerly winds. These conditions caused the ice to retreat to the northern reaches of the 800,000 square mile body of water. By the end of April 2018, sea ice was about 10 percent of normal. And then, much to scientists’ surprise, 2019 just missed eclipsing the record set in 2018.

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15 January 2019

New research shows significant decline of glaciers in Western North America

The first comprehensive assessment of glacier mass loss for all regions in western North America (excluding Alaskan glaciers) suggests that ice masses throughout western North America are in significant decline: glaciers have been losing mass during the first two decades of the 21st century.

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18 December 2018

New satellite tech offers a more detailed map of moving Antarctic glaciers

Scientists can now measure ice flow in Antarctica in far more detail, thanks to the help of a new satellite technology. Using a novel satellite technique called interferometric synthetic aperture radar, or InSAR, scientists can measure the direction of slow ice movement with extreme levels of precision. Slow ice movement is defined as a shift of 1 to 30 meters (3 to 98 feet) per year.

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24 May 2018

Subglacial valleys and mountain ranges discovered near South Pole

Extensive ice-penetrating radar data reveal three vast valleys under glaciers in West Antarctica. These valleys could be important in the future as they help to channel the flow of ice from the center of the continent towards the coast.

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15 May 2018

Antarctic seals can help predict ice sheet melt

Two species of seal found in Antarctic seas are helping scientists collect data about the temperature and salinity of waters around vulnerable ice sheets in West Antarctica.

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10 May 2018

Sounds of melting glaciers could reveal how fast they shrink

Scientists could potentially use the racket made by melting glaciers to estimate how fast they are disappearing, according to new study of audio recordings captured in the waters of an Arctic fjord. New underwater recordings taken from Hornsund fjord in Svalbard, Norway, show melting icebergs make more noise the faster they melt. The recordings also distinguish melting sounds from grounded glaciers and floating icebergs.

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3 May 2018

Meltwater lakes not only summer phenomenon: Warm wind melts snow in Antarctica in winter as well

Even though the sun does not shine in Antarctica in winter, in some places snow on the glaciers can melt. The cause: warm wind.

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20 March 2018

Wind, sea ice changes suggest climate change in western Arctic

A major shift in western Arctic wind patterns occurred throughout the winter of 2017 and the resulting changes in sea ice movement are possible indicators of a changing climate, according to authors of a new study.

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15 March 2018

New study helps explain Greenland glaciers’ varied vulnerability to melting

Using data from NASA missions observing Earth, researchers at the University of California, Irvine have created new maps of the bed topography beneath a score of glaciers in southeast Greenland, thereby gaining a much better understanding of why some are undergoing rapid retreat and others are relatively stable.

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13 March 2018

How much snow accumulates in North America each year? More than scientists thought

There’s a lot more snow piling up in the mountains of North America than anyone knew, according to a first-of-its-kind study. Scientists have revised an estimate of snow volume for the entire continent, and they’ve discovered that snow accumulation in a typical year is 50 percent higher than previously thought.

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6 March 2018

Ice-age echoes affect present-day sea level

A new study has, for the first time, cut a clear path through a nettlesome problem: accurately measuring a powerful effect on global sea level that lingers from the last ice age. Just how quickly Earth’s deep, rocky mantle is rebounding from the heavy burden of ancient ice sheets and oceans remains somewhat uncertain. But this rebound effect, known as glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA), is critical to properly understanding the causes of sea level change.

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25 January 2018

New study reveals how icy surface ponds on Himalayan glaciers influence water flow

The flow of water that supports hydro-electric and irrigation infrastructure in the mountain regions of Nepal and India is regulated by hundreds of large icy ponds on the surface of some of the world’s highest glaciers, scientists have revealed.

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17 January 2018

Glacial moulin formation triggered by rapid lake drainage

Scientists are uncovering the mystery of how, where and when important glacial features called moulins form on the Greenland Ice Sheet. Moulins, vertical conduits that penetrate through the half-mile-deep ice, efficiently funnel the majority of summer meltwater from the ice surface to the base of the ice sheet.

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13 November 2017

New Antarctic heat map reveals sub-ice hotspots

An international team of scientists, led by British Antarctic Survey (BAS), has produced a new map showing how much heat from the Earth’s interior is reaching the base of the Antarctic Ice Sheet.

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11 October 2017

Secrets of hidden ice canyons revealed

In a new study, scientists have discovered huge canyons cutting through the underbelly of Antarctica’s ice shelves, meaning they may be more fragile than previously thought. Thanks to the CryoSat and Sentinel-1 missions, new light is being shed on this hidden world.

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20 September 2017

Tracking driftwood gives researchers insight into past Arctic Ocean changes

Wood from trees that fell into Arctic-draining rivers thousands of years ago is giving scientists a detailed look at how Arctic Ocean circulation has changed over the past 12,000 years. In a new study, researchers used nearly 1,000 pieces of driftwood collected from Arctic shorelines since the 1950s to track Arctic sea ice extent and ocean circulation since the start of the Holocene.

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19 September 2017

Researchers take on atmospheric effects of Arctic snowmelt

Researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute are exploring the changing chemistry of the Arctic’s atmosphere to help answer the question of what happens as snow and ice begin to melt. The research is concerned with the Arctic’s reactive bromine season, the period of time when bromine is consuming ozone, producing bromine monoxide and oxidizing mercury.

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31 August 2017

Record-low 2016 Antarctic sea ice due to ‘perfect storm’ of tropical, polar conditions

While winter sea ice in the Arctic is declining so dramatically that ships can now navigate those waters without any icebreaker escort, the scene in the Southern Hemisphere is very different. Sea ice area around Antarctica has actually increased slightly in winter — that is, until last year. A new study shows the lack of Antarctic sea ice in 2016 was in part due to a unique one-two punch from atmospheric conditions both in the tropical Pacific Ocean and around the South Pole.

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