CR
Cryospheric Sciences

Did you know?

Did you know that thawing permafrost is impacting Arctic livelihoods already today?

Did you know that thawing permafrost is impacting Arctic livelihoods already today?

Would you like to join me on a little trip up North today? We will be visiting a small community in the Canadian high Arctic – a community built on permafrost ground. This sounds pretty cool in the first place, but brings along quite a few challenges that most of us probably do not have to think about. Let me introduce you to Tuktoyaktuk, the community that is endangered to fall into the sea ...[Read More]

Did you know the differences between Arctic and Antarctic sea ice?

Did you know the differences between Arctic and Antarctic sea ice?

If you look at the maps in Figure 1, you will quickly see that sea ice is present in both polar regions (Arctic at the top, Antarctic at the bottom). Despite this apparent similarity, some differences exist between Arctic (in the Northern Hemisphere) and Antarctic (in the Southern Hemisphere) sea ice. We provide a brief explanation of two key differences in this post. Geography The first main diff ...[Read More]

Did you know that snow is hot?

Did you know that snow is hot?

When I was a student, Martin told me matter-of-factly that snow is hot. I probably looked as baffled as I felt (and you are probably doing the same). Were we talking about the same thing? Continue reading to discover why snow is hot! Discovering that snow is hot So why is snow hot? Most snow under Earth’s environmental conditions has a homologous temperature Th close to 1. The homologous temperatu ...[Read More]

What are Snow Mechanics and why should we care?

What are Snow Mechanics and why should we care?

Every time we walk, ski, drive or build upon snow, we’re relying upon the theory of Snow Mechanics; but what is that and why should we care?  Mechanics is the engineering terminology used to describe “the branch of applied mathematics dealing with motion and forces producing motion” (Oxford Languages) or more simply, the study of motion, in our case the motion of snow. What causes snow to move? Ge ...[Read More]

Did you know… that glaciers can sing?

Did you know… that glaciers can sing?

Have you ever wondered what the voice of a glacier sounds like? Well, listen here! And if you want to know how the glacier makes these sounds, then let’s take a walk on the ice side… Close your eyes and think of the time you were in the middle of the mountains. On a snow plain, a glacier or a frozen lake; just you. You hear your footsteps in the snow, crunching ice. The wind blows through your hoo ...[Read More]

Did you know… Arctic lightning strikes are on the rise?

When we think of lightning, it is often accompanied by warm summer nights, tropical storms and a sticky feeling when we try to sleep. However, lightning also happens in the cold Arctic, and is even increasing in frequency. But how and why? And why does that matter? What is lightning? Lightning is caused by a difference in electrical charge between the cloud and the air, nearby clouds, or the groun ...[Read More]

Did you know about Artificial Glaciers?

Did you know about Artificial Glaciers?

There are several ways that we can classify glaciers. We can look at their shape, their size, their type of terminus, and many other features. A new characteristic has recently been gaining in popularity: artificiality. Yes, we now have a few artificial glaciers! Have you ever heard about them? They are glaciers whose behavior is directly influenced by human interventions in order to improve their ...[Read More]

Did you know about the weathering crust? Five things you never knew about glacier surfaces

Did you know about the weathering crust? Five things you never knew about glacier surfaces

To the untrained eye, the melting surface of glaciers and ice sheets can look a little boring. It’s bright in some places, dark in others, and there are lots of things to fall over and (hopefully not) get your feet wet in. However, a huge range of processes are occurring both upon and just underneath the ice surface, in a 50-ish cm thick layer of ice called the weathering crust (or the “crust” for ...[Read More]

The softness of ice, how we measure it, and why it matters for sea level rise

The softness of ice, how we measure it, and why it matters for sea level rise

One of the first things school children learn is that ice is a solid, and forms by freezing water. Most people think of ice as brittle–have you ever dropped a slippery ice cube on the kitchen floor, and watch it break and shatter into many pieces? It may be surprising, then, to find that ice can also stretch and squeeze, like a ball of pizza dough! Once deformed, ice is then softer in certai ...[Read More]

Image of the Week – Did you know that Arctic sea ice is melting from the bottom?

The current retreat of Arctic sea ice is a major sign of ongoing climate changes. And it could almost disappear during summer in a few decades from now, depending on the amount of greenhouse gases we will emit into the atmosphere. In this context, understanding what are the exact causes of this sea-ice loss is important. One of these causes is the amount of heat transported by the ocean (which dep ...[Read More]