COP-26 Video of the Week: “West Antarctica: Getz on the Run” with Heather Selley and Bryony Freer

The Getz region of West Antarctica is losing ice at an increasing rate. A recent study using satellite data found that the average speed of ice in this region has accelerated by 24% over the past three decades, with three glaciers accelerating by more than 44%. Main presenters include Dr. Heather Selley, University of Leeds; […]

Worsening Wildfires and Permafrost Thaw Deepen the Batagaika Crater in Siberia

News Briefing: 30 May 2022 Rising global temperatures have accelerated the growth of the Batagaika Crater in Siberia, which is the largest permafrost landslide in the world. This “Gateway to the Underworld” crater is more than 86 meters deep and 1 kilometer wide. It formed several decades ago when abrupt permafrost thaw collapsed the land […]

Rising Global Temperatures Increase Rainfall and Ice Loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet

European Space Agency, 25 May 2022 Rain fell on the highest region of the Greenland Ice Sheet for the first time ever recorded during the summer of 2021. Several intense “atmospheric rivers” in combination with a heatwave swept along Greenland, elevating summer temperatures above freezing. Atmospheric rivers are warm, meandering air currents filled with moisture […]

Human Emissions Exacerbate Record-Breaking Heatwaves in Antarctica

Communications Earth and Environment, 27 May 2022 Long-term summer warming in the Antarctic Peninsula has increased the severity of Antarctic heatwaves by 25% over the past century, largely as a result of rising human emissions. During February 2020, the Antarctic Peninsula experienced one of the most intense heatwaves ever recorded in Western Antarctica, with temperatures […]

COP-26 Video of the Week: “Reducing Ships’ Black Carbon Emissions to Protect the Arctic” with Sian Prior, Dirk Notz, and Lisa Koperqualuk

Black carbon (BC) accelerates ice loss in the Arctic and creates a feedback loop exacerbating global heating; and has health impacts for local communities. BC from Arctic shipping is increasing as reduced sea ice opens up access to trans-Arctic shipping routes. As a result, between 2015 and 2019, black carbon emissions from shipping in the […]

Major Report Released on Antarctica

News Briefing: May 2022 At this week’s Antarctic Treaty Mechanism meetings in Berlin, the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) released a key synopsis of the changes taking place in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. The ACCE Report summarizes the past decade of scientific evidence; and clearly states that global emissions must be reduced to […]

Diminishing Arctic Sea Ice Increases the Vulnerability of Bowhead Whales

Scientific Reports, 20 May 2022 The combination of rapid sea ice loss with increased human activity – including commercial shipping and oil and gas development – threaten bowhead whale populations in the Arctic. Bowhead whales are one of the few species that live their entire life in Arctic and sub-Arctic regions, living in close association […]

Accelerated Glacier Retreat in the Himalayas Jeopardizes South Asian Agriculture

Nature Climate Change, 19 May 2022 Rising temperatures will accelerate glacier ice loss in the Hindu Kush Himalaya, disrupting previously reliable freshwater resources for millions. The Himalayan mountains experience the impacts of climate change more intensely than most other regions of the world, due in part to their high altitude. The glaciers in these mountains […]

Rising Tropical Temperatures Increase Ice Loss from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

Nature Communications, 20 May 2022 Warming in the tropical Pacific Ocean served as the main driver behind the melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet ten thousand years ago; and similar conditions today may cause its destabilization. Rising ocean temperatures in the tropics can shift westerly wind currents to the south and generate “atmospheric rivers” […]

COP-26 Video of the Week: “The Permafrost-Sea Ice Connection” with Gustaf Hugelius and Robbie Mallet

Loss of sea ice is associated with permafrost thaw in Earth’s past, likely in part due to damaging wave action. This side event explores that connection, and looks at projections should temperature rise continue. The main presenters include Dr. Gustaf Hugelius, Co-Director of the Bolin Center of Climate Research/Stockholm University; and Robbie Mallet, a Cryosphere […]

Drought and Temperature Rise Doubled Glacier Ice Loss in Desert Andes Over Past Two Decades

Journal of Glaciology, 12 May 2022 Glaciers in the Jáchal river basin of Argentina are rapidly losing ice. One-quarter of the Agua Negra glacier has disappeared within the past sixty years due to unusually high temperatures, exacerbated by a long-term drought. As global temperatures rise, these mountainous desert regions of Argentina experience more intense dry […]

Decline in Arctic Sea Ice Increases Dangerous Waves Along Alaska’s Northern Coast

The Cryosphere, 5 May 2022 Arctic sea ice plays a crucial role in protecting the Alaskan coastline from open ocean waves generated in the Beaufort Sea. Seasonal sea ice forms near the shore during the fall, gradually merging with the thicker multi-year ice to create a layer across the surface that dampens the waves underneath. […]

Loss of Antarctic Sea Ice Can Destabilize Ice Shelves and Thereby Ice Sheet

Nature Geoscience, 5 May 2022 The accumulation of sea ice near the Antarctic Peninsula provides a buffer that dampens approaching ocean waves, preventing them from smashing into the ice shelves that buttress the glaciers and ice sheet behind. This layer of defence stabilizes the Antarctic Ice Sheet, reducing the number of icebergs breaking off from […]

COP-26 Video of the Week: “Greenland’s Tipping Point” with Twila Moon and Jason Box

Greenland’s ice is 3 kilometers thick, and runs entirely to its bedrock base, the center of which is below sea level. What is the tipping point of Greenland, where the altitude of the ice sheet is so lowered by surface melt that near-complete loss is unavoidable? This session offers an explanation of this important and […]

Glacial Lake Flooding Produces Devastating Damage in Pakistan

News Brief: 11 May 2022 Record-breaking heatwaves and rapid glacier melting triggered a devastating flood last week that wiped out a bridge, damaged homes, and swept away two major power plants in the Hunzu district of Pakistan. Extremely high temperatures over the past month accelerated snow and ice loss from the Shishpar glacier, increasing the […]

Low Emissions Pathways Could Prevent Irreversible Loss of Remaining Greenland Ice Shelves

Nature Communications, 9 May 2022 More than 40% of the Petermann ice shelf has disappeared over the past decade. Rising global temperatures increase the flow of warm water against the bottom of floating ice shelves, accelerating melt and rendering them more vulnerable to collapse. Ice shelves serve as gatekeepers; they restrain the flow of larger […]

Hidden Groundwater Reservoirs in Antarctica May Increase Ice Loss

Science, 5 May 2022 This study provides the first direct evidence of a deep groundwater system below the surface of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. These hidden pockets of water reduce the friction between the ice sheet and underlying bedrock, accelerating the flow of ice into the ocean. This groundwater system can also dig pathways through […]

COP-26 Video of the Week: “Connections Between Arctic Sea Ice Loss and European Weather” with Alasdair Skelton

This COP-26 session delves into the connections between loss of Arctic Sea ice, pollution and accelerated warming and extreme weather events in Europe and North America. The video features Dr. Alasdair Skelton, former Co-Director of the Bolin Centre for Climate Research/Stockholm University. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8rsZhVrILI

Rising Temperatures Increase Vulnerability of the “Third Pole” to Climate Change

News Briefing: 28 April 2022 The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), supported by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) has released a comprehensive assessment of environmental changes in the “Third Pole,” the entirety of the glacier-capped region in South Asia containing the largest reserve of freshwater outside the poles. The Third Pole provides […]