The Weddell Seal pops his head up through the hole in the floor of the shipping container… for the fourth time today. The shipping container is one of several making up our field camp on sea ice, 40 km from Scott Base – situated on Ross Island, in the south-western Ross Sea. Today I talk about the sub-ice platelet layer, which provides the base for a rich marine environment. Generating super ...[Read More]
Image of the week – The gaze of the ice cap
We are getting used to perceiving glaciers more and more distant and disconnected from our mountains. With each passing year, it is more difficult to observe them, reach them or climb them. They are becoming an exotic element of the Alpine imagination. When our gaze rests on a mountain glacier, with its crevasses and large moraines, we are filled with the fascination of someone observing a new nat ...[Read More]
Image of the week – Birds in the Arctic
I am a hobby ornithologist and love watching birds. It is fun and relaxing to search the trees or fields for feathered friends. One has to be aware of their surroundings, which can make birding even meditative. Here, I will tell you more about Arctic breeding birds, their population declines and I present to you three birds of the many I saw on my very first trips to the Arctic. Arctic breeding bi ...[Read More]
The intriguing order of cold terrains
Do you know what the periglacial environment is? Well, the word periglacial refers to those environments which are somehow sculpted by seasonal freeze and thaw cycles. The alternation of freezing and thawing conditions can change the landscape, creating some spectacular landforms. Stone circles are certainly among the most mysterious and fascinating. Come and discover them! Some definitions Glacia ...[Read More]
Taiwan’s Icy Past
The beautiful island of Taiwan (as given by its colonial name, Ilha Formosa) is primarily known for its lush tropical forests, delicious culinary cuisine, bubbling hot springs, and a bustling cityscape. But, what does Taiwan have to do with the cryosphere? Before you resist the urge to leave and get a bubble tea, read on to find out about Taiwan’s cryospheric past! From cities to mountains Taiwan ...[Read More]
More pancakes in the future!
More pancakes in the future – that sounds like a very good New Year’s Eve resolution for Sunday brunches, but it could also be a development of the most tasty looking sea ice shape in the Arctic. Let’s find out more! Arctic Sea Ice The growth and melt of Arctic sea ice follows a seasonal cycle. In the springtime, under the midnight sun, the sea ice begins to melt until it reaches its m ...[Read More]
Crater Glacier: A story of renewal in the aftermath of destruction
Crater Glacier, located on Mount St. Helens, Washington State, U.S., tells a tale of renewal. The catastrophic and deadly May 18th, 1980 eruption of the volcano created, among other things, a deep horseshoe-shaped, north-facing crater and obliterated most of the glaciers that resided on the volcano’s slopes. By a decade and a half later, it was clear that a glacier had formed in this unlikely loca ...[Read More]
Let’s go to School of Sustainability!
Next generations will not only see impacts of climate change first-hand, but they will also deal with the associated societal implications. Implementing climate solutions and orienting themselves in a growing, green job market need cutting-edge knowledge, which is often hard to get through the ordinary, high-school syllabus. As early-career cryo-scientists (Federica is a PhD student in glacial geo ...[Read More]
Image of the week – The hidden ice of mountainous regions
When speaking about glaciers and the ice they contain, we generally picture large, clean, and therefore relatively white mountain glaciers… But did you know about rock glaciers? From our Image of the Week, you might notice that they do not quite look like the classic ice glacier you might have had in mind. Indeed, they actually indicate the presence of mountain permafrost, an often poorly understo ...[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]