Cryospheric Sciences

Antarctic ice sheet

©LEt’sGO to Antarctica !

©LEt’sGO to Antarctica !

With the current situation, polar fieldwork might be/have been cancelled and we have a suggestion to remedy your field-blues… Why not use ©LEGO to pretend you’re back in the field with the added bonus that you get to be in the warmth and comfort of your home! Here, we’ve re-enacted radar fieldwork that took place a year and a half ago in Antarctica… But first, let’s start with some backgroun ...[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]

Did you know? – Ocean bathymetry can control Antarctic mass loss!

Ice shelves (the floating parts of the Antarctic ice sheet) play a fundamental role in the stability of the Antarctic ice sheet (see this post) and, therefore, its contribution to global sea-level rise. They lose mass primarily through melting at their bases, which are in contact with the ocean. This thins them and makes them more vulnerable, reducing their stabilising potential and causing more i ...[Read More]

Image of the Week – Delaying the flood with glacial geoengineering

As the climate is currently warming, many countries and cities are preparing to cope with one of its major impacts, namely sea-level rise. Up to now, the mitigation of climate change has mainly focused on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Large-scale geoengineering has also been proposed to remove carbon from the atmosphere or inject aerosols into the stratosphere to limit the rise in tem ...[Read More]

Image of the Week — Quantifying Antarctica’s ice loss

It is this time of the year, where any news outlet is full of tips on how to lose weight rapidly to  become beach-body ready. According to the media avalanche following the publication of the ice sheet mass balance inter-comparison exercise (IMBIE) team’s Nature paper, Antarctica is the biggest loser out there. In this Image of the Week, we explain how the international team managed to weight Anta ...[Read More]

Image of the Week – Antarctica: A decade of dynamic change

   Whilst we tend to think of the ice flow in Antarctica as a very slow and steady process, the wonders of satellites have shown over the last two decades it is one of the most dynamic places on Earth! This image of the week maps this dynamical change using all the satellite tools at a scientist’s disposal with novel statistical methods to work out why the change has recently been so rapid. Why do ...[Read More]

Image of the Week – Searching for clues of extraterrestrial life on the Antarctic ice sheet

Last week we celebrated Antarctica Day, 50 years after the Antarctic Treaty was signed. This treaty includes an agreement to protect Antarctic ecosystems. But what if, unintentionally, this protection also covered clues of life beyond Earth? In this Image of the Week, we explore how meteorites found in Antarctica are an important piece of the puzzle in the search for extraterrestrial life. Meteori ...[Read More]