CR
Cryospheric Sciences

Image of the Week

Did you know… the difference between sea-ice area and sea-ice extent?

Did you know…  the difference between sea-ice area and sea-ice extent?

At the beginning of March, just over a month ago, sea ice in the Arctic reached its annual maximum extent. As currently all media attention is focused on other news, you might have missed that, once again, this maximum fell below the 1981 to 2010 average maximum extent. When reading headlines about such sea-ice facts, you may have been confused by the seemingly interchangeable use of “sea-ice exte ...[Read More]

Radiocarbon rocks! – How rocks can tell us about the history of an ice sheet…

Radiocarbon rocks! – How rocks can tell us about the history of an ice sheet…

When most people hear the phrase “radiocarbon dating”, they think of measuring carbon to date organic material. But did you know that carbon is also produced within rocks, and that we can use it to learn about the past behaviour of a glacier? About 20,000 years ago it was colder and large parts of the continents were covered by ice. But what did Antarctica – the largest ice mass ...[Read More]

Boom and bust beneath the ice

Boom and bust beneath the ice

Beneath the frozen surface of the Southern Ocean, live some of the most spectacular creatures on earth. These creatures are spectacular not only in appearance, but also in their ability to survive in such an extreme environment as Antarctica. Here, temperatures deviate only slightly from 0°C, and food is scarce during the winter months. How do these diverse creatures live in these conditions and w ...[Read More]

The foot of a glaciated mammoth? No… A glacier!

The foot of a glaciated mammoth? No… A glacier!

Ice is a viscous fluid: it flows but slowly, reaching up to 100 m/yr for the fastest flowing ice. That’s 0.00001 km/hr, so you’d never see it with the naked eye. But what influences the morphology of the glaciers is the shape of the topography that lies underneath them. Elephant Foot Glacier, shown above, aptly named for its shape, is a textbook-example of a piedmont glacier. These types of glacie ...[Read More]

Climate Change & Cryosphere – The tropical fingerprint in Arctic climate

Climate Change & Cryosphere – The tropical fingerprint in Arctic climate

We know that climate change is being felt worldwide, but it is especially prominent in the Arctic, where temperatures are warming twice as fast as anywhere else on the planet. This especially sensitive environment, whose icy, snow-covered land and sea is so important in the global climate system, is really starting to feel the heat. But where is this heat coming from? In this blog post, we will ex ...[Read More]

Climate Change & Cryosphere – The fate of Georgian Glaciers

Last week, we learned about the dramatic fate of the Hochjochferner, which has strongly retreated in the past years due to climate change. It represented just one example amongst many alpine glaciers, which are following a similar path. But the Alps are not the only mountain range in which glaciers are retreating. Another example closeby is the Caucasus region. Its glaciers are also shrinking at a ...[Read More]

Cryo Adventures – What’s currently going on in Antarctic science?

Cryo Adventures – What’s currently going on in Antarctic science?

As Christmas gets closer, days are getting shorter in the northern hemisphere. A good excuse to get cosy inside on the sofa, drinking tea and eating Christmas biscuits. Meanwhile, a few thousand of scientists are heading “South”, to Antarctica, where the lengthening days provide the perfect conditions to conduct a whole variety of scientific field expeditions… Science in Antarctica Just last ...[Read More]

Did you know…? Antarctica Day 2019 – 60 years of peace

Did you know…? Antarctica Day 2019 – 60 years of peace

December 1st 2019 marks the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Antarctic treaty. To celebrate the signing of the treaty, ‘Antarctica Day’ now occurs each year on December 1st. But what is the Antarctic Treaty? How do people celebrate? This week’s blog post will tell you everything you need to know, just in time for celebrations! Antarctic Treaty The Antarctic Treaty was originally signed by 12 ...[Read More]

Image of the Week – Desert Varnish, Antarctica Style

If you had to describe Antarctica with one colour, red is probably the last one you would pick. However, some parts of the so-called white continent can be surprising in their colours. Today’s Image of the Week shows us that some parts of Antarctica — Beacon Valley in this case – can be strikingly similar to landscapes in hot deserts…. … speaking of deserts, did you know that: Antarcti ...[Read More]

Did you know… about the fluctuating past of north-east Greenland?

Did you know… about the fluctuating past of north-east Greenland?

Recent geological data shows that during a very cold phase of our Earth’s climate (between 40,000 and 26,000 years ago), there was a huge expansion of polar ice sheets, yet the north-eastern part of the Greenland ice sheet was less extensive than today. How could this have occurred? In this post we shed light on the potential causes of this ice sheet behaviour. What do we know about present- ...[Read More]