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17 June 2020

Vulnerable carbon stores twice as high where permafrost subsidence is factored in, new research finds

Sinking terrain caused by the loss of ice and soil mass in permafrost is causing deeper thaw than previously thought and making vulnerable twice as much carbon as estimates that don’t account for this shifting ground.

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10 March 2020

Major Greenland glacier collapse 90 years ago linked to climate change

Ninety years ago there were no satellites to detect changes in Greenland’s coastal glaciers, but a new study combining historical photos with evidence from ocean sediments suggests climate change was already at work in the 1930s and led to a major collapse of the one of Greenland’s largest coastal glaciers.

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5 December 2019

Can Arctic ‘ice management’ combat climate change?

Both sea ice retreat and global warming could be slowed by millions of wind-powered pumps, drifting in the sea ice, to promote ice formation during the Arctic winter. Researchers have now, for the first time, tested the concept using a complex climate model.

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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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6 February 2019

Cracks herald the calving of a large iceberg from Petermann Glacier

Cracks in the floating ice tongue of Petermann Glacier in the far northwest reaches of Greenland indicate the pending loss of another large iceberg. Glaciologists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) in Bremerhaven, Germany report in a new study that the glacier’s flow rate has increased by an average of 10 percent since the calving event in 2012, during which time new cracks have also formed – a quite natural process.

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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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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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4 May 2018

Powering across Alaska on skis

“Jeremy offers us only his incessant snoring to remind us that he is a man and not a god.” So wrote Seth Adams on an Instagram post showing Jeremy Vandermeer striding across a wind-whipped ridge near the frozen headwaters of the Ambler River.

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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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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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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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6 June 2017

Study sheds new light on future of key Antarctic glacier

Thwaites Glacier’s ice loss may not progress as quickly as thought By Carol Rasmussen The melt rate of West Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier is an important concern, because this glacier alone is currently responsible for about 1 percent of global sea level rise. A new study finds that Thwaites’ ice loss will continue, but not quite as rapidly as previous studies have estimated. The new study, published in Geophysical Research Letters, …

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2 March 2017

Study improves forecasts of summer Arctic sea ice

Each year, as sea ice starts to melt in the spring following its maximum wintertime extent, scientists still struggle to estimate exactly how much ice they expect will disappear through the melt season. Now, a new NASA forecasting model based on satellite measurements is allowing researchers to make better estimates.

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24 January 2017

Arctic melt ponds form when meltwater clogs ice pores

When spring comes to the Arctic, the breakup of the cold winter ice sheets starts at the surface with the formation of melt ponds. These pools of melted snow and ice darken the surface of the ice, increasing the amount of solar energy the ice sheet absorbs and accelerating melt. Now, researchers describe in a new study how these melt ponds form, solving a paradoxical mystery of how a pool of water actually sits atop highly porous ice.

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8 June 2016

Antarctic lakes provide glimpse of ancient forest fires, modern human impacts

The perpetually ice-covered lakes in Antarctica’s McMurdo Dry Valleys preserve the dissolved remnants of black carbon from thousand-year-old wildfires as well as modern day fossil fuel use, according to a new study.

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1 March 2016

History on Ice: New insights from reviewing 60 years of crevasse research

The American Geophysical Union invited Colgan and six team members, including CIRES director Waleed Abdalati, to compile and synthesize decades worth of research on glacier crevasses to highlight overarching key concepts and new research directions. Their review paper has been published online in Reviews of Geophysics, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

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14 January 2016

Study finds high melt rates on Antarctica’s most stable ice shelf

A new study measured a melting rate that is 25 times higher than expected on one part of the Ross Ice Shelf. The study suggests that high, localized melt rates such as this one on Antarctica’s largest and most stable ice shelf are normal and keep Antarctica’s ice sheets in balance.

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