CR
Cryospheric Sciences

albedo

Climate Change & Cryosphere – Summer 2019: The year that the Arctic was sunburned

June, July and August 2019 saw extensive heat waves across Europe, with air temperatures reaching above 40°C in many countries. In response, record breaking ice melt was observed in Greenland and wildfires in Siberia, Alaska, Arctic Canada and Greenland occurred. A particularly dry and warm summer was responsible for hemisphere-wide changes to the cryosphere. In this week’s post, we will review so ...[Read More]

Image of the Week – On thin [Arctic sea] ice

Perhaps the most enduring and important signal of a warming climate has been that the minimum Arctic sea ice extent, occurring each year in September, has declined precipitously. Over the last 40 years, most of the Arctic sea ice has thus been transformed to first-year ice that freezes in the winter and melts in the summer.            Concern about sea ice extent and area is valid: since sea ice i ...[Read More]

Image of the Week — Climate change and disappearing ice

The first week of the Climate Change summit in Bonn (COP 23  for those in the know) has been marked by Syria’s decision to sign the Paris Accord, the international agreement that aims at tackling climate change. This decision means that the United States would become the only country outside the agreement if it were to complete the withdrawal process vowed by President Trump. In this context ...[Read More]

Image of the Week – Bioalbedo: algae darken the Greenland Ice Sheet

Image of the Week – Bioalbedo: algae darken the Greenland Ice Sheet

Most of the energy that drives glacier melting comes directly from sunlight, with the amount of melting critically dependent on the amount of solar energy absorbed compared to that reflected back into the atmosphere. The amount of solar energy that is reflected by a surface without being absorbed is called the albedo. A low albedo surface absorbs more of the energy that hits it compared to a high ...[Read More]

Image of the Week – Fifty shades of snow

Image of the Week – Fifty shades of snow

When I think of snow, I tend to either think about the bright white ski slopes in the mountains or the large white areas in the Arctic. However, natural phenomena can lead to colorful snow. Our Image of the Week shows snow can be green! Snow can also turn orange, pinkish, grey and even yellow… But where do these different shades of snow come from? White The most common color of snow is white (see ...[Read More]

Black Carbon: the dark side of warming in the Arctic

Black Carbon: the dark side of warming in the Arctic

When it comes to global warming, greenhouse gases – and more specifically CO2 – are the most often pointed out. Fewer people know however that tiny atmospheric particles called ‘black carbon’ also contribute to the current warming. This post presents a paper my colleague and I recently published in nature communications. Our study sheds more light into the chemical make-up of black car ...[Read More]

Image of the week — The warming effect of the decline of Arctic Sea Ice

Image of the week — The warming effect of the decline of Arctic Sea Ice

One of the most dramatic signals of Earth’s recent warming has been the precipitous decline of the Arctic sea ice. While the sea-ice decline is in response to warming ocean and atmosphere, it also has an important feed-back on the climate itself. Solar radiation and albedo Earth’s main energy source is solar radiation. This solar radiation is either absorbed in the atmosphere or at the ...[Read More]