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21 July 2017
Mountain glaciers recharge vital aquifers
Small mountain glaciers play a big role in recharging vital aquifers and in keeping rivers flowing during the winter, according to a new study. It suggests that the accelerated melting of mountain glaciers in recent decades may explain why arctic and subarctic rivers have increased their water flow during the winter even without a correlative increase in rain or snowfall.
25 May 2017
Scientists discover new mode of ice loss in Greenland
A new study finds that during Greenland’s hottest summers on record, 2010 and 2012, the ice in Rink Glacier on the island’s west coast didn’t just melt faster than usual, it slid through the glacier’s interior in a gigantic wave, like a warmed freezer pop sliding out of its plastic casing. The wave persisted for four months, with ice from upstream continuing to move down to replace the missing mass for at least four more months.
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.
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.
15 December 2015
One Million Icequakes
Nestled in the Arctic is a glacier like no other. This glacier quakes once a minute creating seismic events that rattle the earth—more frequently than scientists have ever seen. Understanding why these icequakes are so common may help researchers predict future ice flow, a process that propels climate-driven sea level rise.
13 October 2014
Health check reveals how glacier is declining due to warming climate
Researchers from the British Geological Survey have taken the very first comprehensive health check of a rapidly melting glacier. Their latest study reveals that their icy patient, the Falljökull glacier in southeast Iceland, has been dramatically declining as it tries to adjust to recent changes in the climate.
24 June 2014
The risky business of climate change
Up to $106 billion worth of coastal homes and businesses in the U.S. are likely to be underwater by the year 2050 due to rising sea levels, and up to $507 billion in coastal property will likely be below sea level by 2100, according to a new report released today. The report is based in part on a new study on sea level rise in Earth’s Future, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.
20 May 2014
New research questions emerge from Arctic melting
What is hidden within and beneath Arctic ice? Why does winter matter? What is being irretrievably lost as the Arctic changes?
These are just some of the emerging questions that scientists are being challenged to answer about the rapidly changing Arctic in a new report, “The Arctic in the Anthropocene: Emerging Research Questions,” released last month by the National Research Council’s Committee on Emerging Research Questions.
17 December 2012
As air columns collapse, glaciers tremble
One moment, a block of ice about the size of a 15-passenger van plummets from the edge of a melting glacier to the water below. Seconds later, seismic vibrations shake the glacier and surrounding rock. For years, scientists have been puzzled over why glaciers quake while losing ice. Now, a new study has uncovered how the icequakes and ice loss are connected, which may help glaciologists and climate scientists track retreating ice throughout the Arctic.
6 December 2012
Shelter from the Snowball
Bacteria dependent on light may have found refuge from encroaching glaciers in inland seas some 600 million years ago, when Earth was a giant ice ball.