Category Archives: Latest Research

Ice Sheet Loss from Greenland and Antarctica Track Worst-case IPCC AR5 Projections

Nature Climate Change, August 31   The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have increased global sea level by 12.3 mm from 2007 and 2017, matching the most pessimistic predictions of the IPCC’s most recent assessment report (AR5). In particular, this study indicated that current models underestimate the contribution of ice sheet surface melt.  The comparison […]

Massive Amounts of Ice Loss in the Cryosphere

The Cryosphere Discussion/Review, August 14 A paper placed in open review notes that the cryosphere globally has lost a total of 28 trillion tonnes of ice (28,000 Gt) in the past 23 years, with a significant acceleration of mass loss since the year 2000. The largest losses have occurred to (in approximate order) Arctic sea […]

Reconstruction of Sea-level Rise Sources Closes the “Sea-level Budget”

Nature, August 19 For the first time, researchers have been able to close the “sea-level budget” (relative sources of sea-level rise), gaining new insights on the drivers of observed global mean sea-level rise over the past century. By re-examining the contributions of glaciers, ice sheets, thermal expansion, and land water storage, this study was able […]

Unexpected Basal Ocean Melting in East Antarctica

Nature Communications, August 24 The floating Shirase Ice Tongue (a long and narrow projection of ice, connected an ice basin about the size of the United Kingdom) in Queen Maud Land, East Antarctica, has revealed surprisingly high basal melt rates of 7 to 16 m per year. These rates equal or surpass the melting rate underneath […]

Satellite Data Confirms Accelerating Greenland Ice Sheet Loss

Nature, August 20   The Greenland Ice Sheet lost a record-breaking 532 (± 58 Gt) of ice in 2019, up around 200 Gt in the early 2000s, when it first became clear that the ice sheet was losing mass. The two GRACE satellite missions also provided new insights on the sensitivity of the Greenland Ice Sheet to climate-related changes in […]

Ice Mass Loss from Greenland Will Continue Even After Stabilized

Nature, Communications Earth & Environment, August 13 Acceleration of outlet glaciers from the Greenland ice sheet, not compensated by accumulation above makes it the current largest contributor to sea level rise. Through the 1980s and 1990s, losses through iceberg calving and melting were replaced by snowfall, keeping the ice sheet in balance. However, starting in […]

Basal Melting of Antarctic Ice Shelves

Nature Geoscience, August 10 Between 1994 and 2018, Antarctic ice shelves (floating ice connected to the land-based Antarctic ice sheet) lost close to 3960 Gt of ice. Many ice shelves bordering Antarctica lose mass through ocean-driven melting at their base. This study builds on previous work by using higher density satellite radar measurements, enabling far […]

Emissions from Thawing Peatland Permafrost 30-50% Greater than Previous Estimates

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, August 10 Under high emissions scenarios, northern hemisphere permafrost and peatlands will show a 30-50% greater contribution to warming than previously projected, with emissions impacts equivalent to 1% of all anthropogenic radiative forcing this century – and this takes into account both peatland carbon uptake and permafrost thaw […]

Arctic Sea Ice More Sensitive to Emissions: Ice-Free Arctic During Last Interglacial Points to Rapid Future Loss

Nature Climate Change, August 10 The Arctic Ocean could be seasonally ice-free at temperatures only slightly above today’s, once land-based Arctic summer temperatures average 4 to 5°C above pre-industrial. This would occur by summer 2035 under high emissions scenarios; parts of the Arctic were already far warmer this summer. These new simulations using CMIP6, by […]

New Global Estimate of Rock-Debris Cover on Glaciers Helps Improve Projections of Glacier Melt and Sea Level Rise

Nature Geoscience, August 3 An updated approach is required to estimate the melting of global glaciers due to rock debris partially insulating the glaciers’ surface. As glaciers shrink, eroded rock from surrounding mountain slopes becomes exposed and slides down, forming a layer on the surface of glaciers which, if thick enough, reduces the rate at […]