Author Archives: Pam Pearson

Warm Surface Water “Bends” and Fractures Portions of West Antarctic Ice Shelf

Geophysical Research Letters, April 11 Although loss from Antarctica’s ice shelves is dominated by large calving events; smaller, more frequent fractures also occur. Such fractures can be caused by warm near-surface water in the summer, lifting a portion of the ice shelf behind its leading edge, causing the shelf to bend and fracture. This study […]

Surface Melt and Runoff at Higher Temperatures Increases Chance of Antarctic Ice Shelf Collapse

Geophysical Research Letters, April 8 Loss of Antarctic ice shelves – projections of ice off the main Antarctic Ice Sheet — will lead to potentially rapid sea-level rise, not from the ice shelves themselves, but because their loss may lead to cascading movement and/or collapse of the main ice sheet into the ocean, especially in […]

High Temperatures and Sea Ice Disintegration Leads to Acidification Hot Spots off Greenland

Nature Communications Earth & Environment, April 12 Some of the last remnants of thicker multi-year sea ice occur along the north Greenland coast. Increasing break-up and accumulation of this ice near the mouth of outlet fjords dams the flow of fresher surface water, coming off melting outlet glaciers within the fjords. This fresher water absorbs […]

Large Antarctic Ice Shelf Increasingly Destabilized as Temperatures Rise

Nature Communications, March 31 A potentially irreversible tipping point in Antarctica’s large Filchner–Ronne Ice Shelf (approximately the size of California) may be crossed if the ocean cavity beneath becomes flooded with warm water from the deep ocean. This modeling study found that as ocean circulation changes in response to increased levels of carbon emissions, cold […]

Arctic Sea Ice Loss Fuels Extreme European Snowfall

Nature Geoscience, April 1 The loss of Arctic sea ice directly contributed to the extreme snowfall and freezing across Europe during February 2018. This winter event was driven by an anomalously warm Barents Sea. With a 60% ice-free surface, the Barents Sea pushed 140 gigatons of water vapor into a cold northeasterly airflow over northern […]

Thresholds of Irreversible Retreat Identified on Major Portion of West Antarctic Ice Sheet

The Cryosphere, March 25 Located in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, Pine Island is currently the fastest melting glacier in Antarctica and accounts for a quarter of all ice lost in the region. Three distinct thresholds or tipping points, rather than one single event, were identified for the Pine Island Glacier in response to increases […]

Lightning Strikes Triple in the Arctic – Possible Source of Increased Wildfires

Geophysical Research Letters, March 22 Lightning strikes in the Arctic, potentially a source of increasing wildfires, tripled from 2010 to 2020, a finding researchers attributed to rising temperatures from global warming. The results suggest Arctic residents in northern Russia, Canada, Europe and Alaska need to prepare for this increased risk of wildfire and infrastructure damage. […]

Evidence of Complete Greenland Ice Sheet Loss During Relatively Recent Interglacial

The Cryosphere, March 18 Sediment at the bottom of the Camp Century ice core, collected 120 km from the coast in northwestern Greenland, reveals that Greenland fully melted and re-formed at least once in the past 1.1 million years; possibly as recently as 400,000 years ago. This might mean that the Greenland ice sheet is […]

Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Wetting Reduces Permafrost Thaw from Global Warming

Earth and Planetary Science Letters, March 10 The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is the highest and most extensive permafrost region in the mid-latitudes, and is considered to be one of the most sensitive regions to global climate change. It has experienced elevated levels of both warming and rainfall since the mid-1990s. Increased levels of rainfall will continue […]

Extreme Meltwater Conditions on the Antarctic Peninsula’s Largest Remaining Ice Shelf

The Cryosphere, February 25 During 2019-2020, surface melt duration and extent on the George VI Ice Shelf hit record-breaking highs, compared to the past 30 years of distinctly lower melt. The George VI Ice Shelf is 56 km long, and buttresses more land ice than any other remaining in the Peninsula. Large ponds of surface […]