CR
Cryospheric Sciences

modelling

The “Cliffs Notes” on Ice-Cliff Failure

The “Cliffs Notes” on Ice-Cliff Failure

The retreat of large glaciers that drain the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets could expose immense ice-cliffs at newly-bared calving faces, which are the exposed ends of glaciers where, in these cases, glacier ice meets the ocean. Past a certain height, these ice cliffs will become susceptible to collapsing from high stresses, a process known as structural ice-cliff failure. If a taller ice clif ...[Read More]

Climatic drivers of permafrost mounds in North American peatlands

Climatic drivers of permafrost mounds in North American peatlands

Permafrost, or perennially frozen, peatlands are among the world’s largest terrestrial carbon stores and are particularly threatened by warming climates. Understanding how modern climate controls the distribution of permafrost peatlands is crucial for making confident predictions of their past and future extents. What are permafrost peatlands? Peatlands are wetlands that develop where cold, wet co ...[Read More]

Image of the Week – Geothermal heat flux in Antarctica: do we really know anything?

Geothermal heat flux is the major unknown when we evaluate the temperature and the presence/absence of water at the bed of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. This information is crucial for the Beyond Epica Oldest Ice project, which aims to find a continuous ice core spanning 1.5 million years (see this previous post). A lot of work has been done* to determine geothermal heat flux under the entire Antarctic ...[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 – A high-resolution picture of Greenland’s surface mass balance

Image of the Week – A high-resolution picture of Greenland’s surface mass balance

The Greenland ice sheet – the world’s second largest ice mass – stores about one tenth of the Earth’s freshwater. If totally melted, this would rise global sea level by 7.4 m, affecting low-lying regions worldwide. Since the 1990s, the warmer atmosphere and ocean have increased the melt at the surface of the Greenland ice sheet, accelerating the ice loss through increased runoff of meltwater and i ...[Read More]

Image of The Week – Ice Flows!

Image of The Week – Ice Flows!

Portraying ice sheets and shelves to the general public can be tricky. They are in remote locations, meaning the majority of people will never have seen them. They also change over timescales that are often hard to represent without showing dramatic images of more unusual events such as the collapse of the Larsen B Ice Shelf.  However, an app launched in the summer at the SCAR (Scientific Committe ...[Read More]

Image of The Week – The Pulsating Ice Sheet!

Image of The Week – The Pulsating Ice Sheet!

During the last glacial period (~110,000-12,500 years ago) the Laurentide Ice Sheet (North America) experienced rapid, episodic, mass loss events – known as Heinrich events. These events are particularly curious as they occurred during the colder portions of the last glacial period, when we would intuitively expect large-scale mass loss during warmer times. In order to understand mass loss m ...[Read More]

Katabatic winds – A load of hot (or cold) air?

Katabatic winds – A load of hot (or cold) air?

It might seem obvious that a warming world will lead to a reduction in glacial ice cover, but predicting the response of glaciers to climatic change is no simple task (even within the short term). One way to approach this problem is to come up with relationships which describe how glaciers interact with the world around them, for example, how the ice interacts with the air above it. Our post today ...[Read More]

Ice-Hot News : The “Oldest Ice” quest has begun

Ice-Hot News : The “Oldest Ice” quest has begun

This is it! The new European horizon 2020 project on Oldest Ice has been launched and the teams are already heading out to the field, but what does “Old Ice” really mean? Where can we find it and why should we even care? This is what we (Marie, Olivier and Brice) will try to explain somewhat. Why do we care about old ice, ice cores and past climate? Unravelling past climate and how it responded to ...[Read More]

Image of the week – Our salty seas and how this affects sea ice growth

Image  of the week – Our salty seas and how this affects sea ice growth

Earth’s oceans are not simply just water, they are a complicated multi-component fluid consisting of water and dissolved salts (ask anyone who has tried to drink it!). The existence of these salts has a significant impact on global ocean circulation. Nowhere is this more significant than in the polar oceans where it is one of the key factors influencing sea ice formation. In this week’s imag ...[Read More]