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23 September 2019
Ice islands on Mars and Pluto could reveal past climate change
Many of the craters of Mars and Pluto feature relatively small ice islands unattached to their polar ice caps. These ice islands could be records of past climate change on Mars and Pluto, and could also provide clues about the workings of Martian water and ice, according to a new study in AGU’s Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
16 December 2014
Researchers keep an eye on walrus ice preferences
To walruses, ice means life. It’s their home base, their mating ground, and their transportation. As climate change threatens the extent of ocean ice, a new study takes a first step at determining how changing ice conditions are influencing walrus dynamics.
11 December 2013
Buoyant rover records Arctic ice from beneath
Researchers have developed a rover that floats beneath the surface of the ice and photographs it from underneath. The upside down images could help scientists understand the source of methane bubbles trapped in Arctic ice, and how much of this powerful global warming gas is seeping from the permafrost.