CR
Cryospheric Sciences

ice sheets

The softness of ice, how we measure it, and why it matters for sea level rise

The softness of ice, how we measure it, and why it matters for sea level rise

One of the first things school children learn is that ice is a solid, and forms by freezing water. Most people think of ice as brittle–have you ever dropped a slippery ice cube on the kitchen floor, and watch it break and shatter into many pieces? It may be surprising, then, to find that ice can also stretch and squeeze, like a ball of pizza dough! Once deformed, ice is then softer in certai ...[Read More]

Did you know… that you can read the edge of Greenland’s ice as an open book?

Did you know… that you can read the edge of Greenland’s ice as an open book?

Scientists struggle to get ice samples from the depths of glaciers where fundamental pieces of information about the climate of Earth are stored. But in many places around the periphery of the Greenland Ice Sheet, you don’t need to drill a deep ice core to obtain ancient ice, you can simply walk across the ice sheet’s margin and look at the layered ice surface. There you can read the ice as though ...[Read More]

Image of the Week – Ice-Spy: the launch of ICESat-2

On September 15th, 2018, at 18:02 local time, NASA launched its newest satellite – the second generation Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat-2). ICESat-2 only contains one instrument – a space laser that fires 10,000 pulses per second to Earth to measure elevation. Its primary purpose is for monitoring the ever changing cryosphere, so naturally there are plenty of ice enthusiasts ...[Read More]

Ice-hot news: The cryosphere and the 1.5°C target

Ice-hot news: The cryosphere and the 1.5°C target

Every year again, the Conference of Parties takes place, an event where politicians and activists from all over the world meet for two weeks to discuss further actions concerning climate change. In the context the COP24, which started this Monday in Katowice (Poland), let’s revisit an important decision made three years ago, during the COP21 in Paris, and its consequences for the state of the cryo ...[Read More]

Image of the Week – Karthaus Summer School 2018

Nearly every year since the late 90s, during the summer, the picturesque Karthaus has hosted 10-day glaciology course. This school is a platform for glaciologists to explore, learn and expand their knowledge base. This helps researchers become multi-faceted: to view glaciology from the perspective of those specializing in other backgrounds such as hydrology, geomorphology, oceanography, etc. which ...[Read More]

Image of the Week – Microbes have a crush on glacier erosion

Image of the Week – Microbes have a crush on glacier erosion

Glacier erosion happens at the interface between ice and the ground beneath. Rocks are ground down to dust and landscapes shaped by the flowing ice. While these might be hotspots for erosion, the dark and nutrient-poor sites are unlikely environments for biological activity. However, experiments suggest there may be novel sources of energy powering subglacial microbial life… Where there is water, ...[Read More]

Image of the Week – Arctic changes in a warming climate

Image of the Week – Arctic changes in a warming climate

The Arctic is changing rapidly and nothing indicates a slowdown of these changes in the current context. The Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA) report published by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP) describes the present situation and the future evolution of the Arctic, the local and global implications, and mitigation and adaptation measures. The report is base ...[Read More]

Image of the Week – Karthaus Summer School 2017

Glaciologists often undertake fieldwork in remote and difficult to access locations, which perhaps explains why they happily travel to similar locations to attend meetings and workshops. The Karthaus Summer School, which focuses on Ice Sheets and Glaciers in the Climate System, is no exception. The idyllic village of Karthaus, located in the narrow Schnalstal valley in Südtirol (Italy), has been h ...[Read More]

Image of the Week: Petermann Glacier

Our image of the week shows the area around the calving front of Petermann Glacier through the spring, summer, and autumn of 2016. Petermann Glacier, in northern Greenland, is one of the largest glaciers of the Greenland Ice Sheet. It terminates in the huge Petermann Fjord, more than 10 km wide, surrounded by 1000 m cliffs and plunging to more than 1100 m below sea level at its deepest point. In 2 ...[Read More]

Image of the week – Learning from our past!

Image of the week – Learning from our past!

Understanding the climate evolution of our planet is not an easy task, but it is essential to understand the past if we are to predict the future! Historic climate cycles provide us with a glimpse into a period of time when the Earth was warmer than it was today. Our image of the week looks at these warmer periods of time to see what they can tell us about the future! For example, during the Plioc ...[Read More]