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18 March 2019

Centennial E4 – Toxic City Under the Ice

In 1959, the United States built an unusual military base under the surface of the Greenland ice Sheet. Camp Century was a hub for scientific research, but it also doubled as a top-secret site for testing the feasibility of deploying nuclear missiles from the Arctic. When Camp Century was decommissioned in 1967, its infrastructure and waste were abandoned under the assumption they would be forever entombed beneath the colossal sheet of ice.  

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8 March 2019

Third Pod Live: James Balog, Climate Activist

In part three of this three-part series, we were fortunate to be able to sit down with James Balog to talk about how his work and experiences have shaped him into the climate activist he is now.

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6 March 2019

Third Pod Live: James Balog, Adventurer

In part two of this three-part series, we were fortunate to be able to sit down with James Balog to talk about some of his most memorable (and dangerous) moments in the field.

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4 March 2019

Third Pod Live: James Balog, Photographer

In part one of this three-part series, we were fortunate to be able to sit down with James Balog to talk about how he became a photographer.

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6 December 2018

Wintertime Arctic Sea Ice Growth Slows Long-term Decline: NASA

New NASA research has found that increases in the rate at which Arctic sea ice grows in the winter may have partially slowed down the decline of the Arctic sea ice cover. As temperatures in the Arctic have warmed at double the pace of the rest of the planet, the expanse of frozen seawater that blankets the Arctic Ocean and neighboring seas has shrunk and thinned over the past three decades. The end-of-summer Arctic sea ice extent has almost halved since the early 1980s. A recent NASA study found that since 1958, the Arctic sea ice cover has lost on average around two-thirds of its thickness and now 70 percent of the sea ice cap is made of seasonal ice, or ice that forms and melts within a single year. But at the same time that sea ice is vanishing quicker than it has ever been observed in the satellite record, it is also thickening at a faster rate during winter.

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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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9 May 2018

E5 – Bonus Clip: Wildlife of Svalbard

Check out this clip that didn’t make it into our recent episode, Journey to the Center of the Ice, with glaciologist Kiya Riverman, about her close encounters with animals of the far north.

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1 May 2018

E5 – Journey to the Center of the Ice

From the outside, glaciers appear to be solid masses of unmoving ice. But meltwater flowing from the surface down to the glacier bed carves canyons, gorges and even caves into the dense sheets of ice. Over time, the fissures form labyrinthine tunnels that open into vast ice caverns few people have ever seen.

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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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5 July 2016

Odd behavior of Jovian moon dust could inform future space missions, search for life

New research into the movements of dust around Jupiter’s four largest moons could help scientists searching for life in our solar system, according to a new study. This moon dust around Jupiter could give scientists clues about the composition of the surface of its satellites.

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21 June 2016

Saturn moon Enceladus’ ice shell likely thinner than expected

A vast ocean of water beneath the icy crust of Saturn’s moon Enceladus may be more accessible than previously thought, according to new research. A new study has revealed that near the moon’s poles, the ice covering Enceladus could be just two kilometers (one mile) thick—the thinnest known ice shell of any ocean-covered moon. The discovery not only changes scientists’ understanding of Enceladus’ structure, but also makes the moon a more appealing target for future exploration, according to the study’s authors.

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17 December 2015

Harbor seals hang out on glacier ice

Harbor seals are the most widespread pinniped species in the world. They range as far south as Baja California in Mexico, and as far north as Artic Canada and Greenland. In the colder areas of that vast distribution, they sometimes make themselves at home on floating chunks of ice below tidewater glaciers.

Glaciers are constantly on the move, flowing slowly downhill under the force of their own weight. When that path leads them into the ocean, they’re called tidewater glaciers. During the summer, harbor seals, up to several thousand at a time, congregate in Alaska’s tidewater glacier fjords.

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15 December 2015

Restoring white Arctic will fall to future generations who never knew it

Scientists and policymakers have discussed for decades how to slow the rate of global warming and melting Arctic ice—most recently at the Paris talks—but few have discussed how to restore the ice after it is lost. That task will likely fall to future generations who not only grew up without a white Arctic but may have conflicting interests in keeping it blue, according to an analysis presented on Monday by scientists at the 2015 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting.

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7 February 2013

The Mysterious Moving Rocks of Mars

How did the boulders in the picture above end up in clumps and arcs instead of randomly distributed across the surface? That’s the focus of the paper “Possible Mechanism of Boulder Clustering on Mars” by Travis Orloff, Mikhail Kreslavsky, and Eric Asphaug that is currently In Press in the journal Icarus.

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27 March 2012

LPSC 2012 Highlights – Masursky Lecture

Well folks, I’m back from another successful LPSC! I am going to approach my recap differently this time: instead of an attempt to exhaustively list talks that I found interesting, I’m just going to do a few posts about key highlights, starting with the Masursky lecture by Jim Head about the history of the Martian climate. I thought Jim’s talk was a great summary of the state of our understanding of the evolution of the climate on Mars, and I will do my best to summarize it here.

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18 October 2011

The Rock of Saint Michael

One of my fellow graduate students here at Cornell, Kassandra Martin-Wells, is also writer, but unlike me she actually finishes her stories, and they’re very good. She studies cratering on the moon and wrote the following story after hearing a presentation about the moon’s south pole at a Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) meeting.

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22 April 2011

New CO2 Reservoir Discovered on Mars

If you’ve followed Mars science for long, you know that the question of where the atmosphere went is a major one. Evidence points to liquid water on the surface of Mars, and that’s only possible if the atmospheric pressure is high enough and the surface temperature is warm enough. Adding CO2 to the atmosphere would increase both temperature and pressure, so a lot of scientists have been looking for carbonate rocks that might be trapping the CO2 that used to be in the atmosphere.

Well, this week a new article in Science reveals that there is a huge amount of CO2 trapped as dry ice near the South Pole!

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