Category Archives: Latest Research

Permafrost Thaw and Stabilization in the Arctic’s Distant Past

Science Advances, April 28 Past permafrost thaw extended into the high Arctic between 1.5 and 0.5 million years ago, and underwent cycles of thawing and re-freezing in regions where permafrost is stable today. However, for the past 400,000 years, extensive permafrost thaw has been limited to the sub-Arctic. This shift toward more stable permafrost in […]

Ice Sheet Melt Will Increase Methane Emissions in the Arctic

Geology, April 22 Similarities between previous deglaciation periods reveal that the retreat of Arctic ice sheets was a common driver for episodic release of methane from Arctic seabeds. Sediment cores show that as the Arctic ice sheet melted, pressure on the seafloor lessened, and methane was released in violent spurts as well as in slow […]

Future Glacier Melt in Himalayas Increases Risk of Glacial Lake Outburst Floods

Nature, May 6 The widespread disappearance of Himalayan glaciers is associated with the rapid expansion of glacial lakes, increasing the risks for glacier lake outburst floods (GLOFs) in the region. While the eastern Himalayas presently has the highest GLOF risk, authors predict additional hotspots will emerge further west, as glaciers in the region are projected […]

Reducing Warming to 1.5°C Cuts Sea-level Rise from All Land Ice in Half by 2100

Nature, May 5 In addition to the DeConto et al. (2021) study covered in our May 5 “Special Edition,” Nature also on Wednesday published a study consolidating many models to come up with their average estimate of sea-level rise from all land ice (both ice sheets, and glaciers). The study however only covered sea-level rise […]

Reduced Black Carbon Emissions with Covid-19 Slowed Himalayan Melt and Increased Water Security

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, April 18 Research into the impact of black carbon has long noted the potential of emissions reductions to slow snow and ice loss. With Covid-19, this appears to have been borne out in a real-world scenario, when corona virus lockdowns in South Asia last year reduced emissions of […]

Global Glacier Loss Rates Greatly Accelerated Since 2020: Tripling or Quadrupling in Some Regions

Nature, April 28 Between 2000 and 2019, the world’s glaciers lost 267 billion tons of ice per year – equivalent to 21% of observed sea level rise and enough water to flood Canada’s entire land mass by several decimeters each year. The glaciers in western North America are losing ice faster than anywhere else in […]

Projected Warming of Water Surrounding Antarctic Ice Shelves

Geophysical Research Letters, April 18 The ocean around the base of Antarctica will continue to warm under future emission scenarios, with the level of warming by 2100 under high emissions (0.62°C) almost double that from medium-low emissions (0.36°C). Warm waters can melt Antarctic ice shelves from underneath, destabilizing sections of ice that support neighboring shelves; […]

Extreme Melt Season Ice Layers May Increase Meltwater Runoff from Greenland

Nature Communications, April 20 Surface meltwater run-off currently dominates ice mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet. Porous layers of multi-year snow can instead absorb this meltwater, slowing and limiting runoff and mass loss. However, thick layers of ice, such as ice slabs, can develop and restrict the snow’s ability to retain meltwater, with greater […]

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 […]