CR
Cryospheric Sciences

Greenland ice sheet

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]

Re-discovering the British North Greenland Expedition 1952-54

Re-discovering the British North Greenland Expedition 1952-54

How did we (nearly) all forget about, or simply overlook, a large-scale two-year long mid-20th Century scientific expedition to the northern Greenland Ice Sheet? Particularly an expedition that kick-started some significant glaciological and geophysical careers, developed large-scale polar logistical capabilities, traversed the ice sheet, acquired some novel and critical data, and asked some big r ...[Read More]

Questions from space: what is snow and what is ice on the Greenland ice sheet?

Questions from space: what is snow and what is ice on the Greenland ice sheet?

We usually think of a glacier as a white, clean surface. Well, this is only an idealized vision because in reality glaciers are far from immaculate, they can be colored! And this is extremely important since colored (dirty) ice absorbs more solar radiation than clean ice, accelerating melt. One of the places on Earth where it is fundamental to understand these processes is Greenland, where ice is ...[Read More]

Did you know … that liquid water can be held within a glacier?

Hidden below the surface of some glaciers, liquid water can be found within what is called the firn layer – the upper layer of a glacier where snow compacts into glacier ice. Liquid water may persist there for up to many years, forming what scientists call “firn aquifers.” While observations of seasonal firn aquifers have existed since the mid to late 1900s in several mountain glaciers, recent stu ...[Read More]

Image of the Week – Icebergs increase heat flux to glacier

Image of the Week – Icebergs increase heat flux to glacier

Icebergs are ubiquitous in Greenland’s fjords, melting and releasing freshwater as they float towards the open ocean. The amount of freshwater released from these icebergs can be vast – the equivalent of around 50,000 Olympic swimming pools per day in some fjords. New research reveals that this freshwater causes fjord currents to speed-up, which can actually increase the amount of heat delivered t ...[Read More]

Water plumes are tickling the Greenland Ice Sheet

Water plumes are tickling the Greenland Ice Sheet

7 meters of sea-level rise – what you would get if the whole Greenland Ice Sheet melted. But the tricky question is: how much of this ice will be melted in the next decades, and how fast will it occur? This piece of information is critical in order to plan for present and future populations living in coastline areas, all around the world. How much and how fast can the Greenland Ice Sheet melt ? In ...[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]