Current Climate Warming Enough to Set West Antarctica on Path to Irreversible Collapse

The Cryosphere, 7 September 2023 Two groundbreaking studies reveal that remaining at today’s 1.2°C could trigger the slow but certain loss of parts of West Antarctica over coming centuries, even with no additional warming beyond current temperatures. Once initiated, this ice loss and sea level rise cannot be reversed. Experts from major European research institutions […]

Latest Observations: Antarctica Warming Nearly Two Times Faster Than the Rest of the World

Nature Climate Change, 7 September 2023 The Arctic long has been characterized by warming two-four times the global average; now, ice core measurements provide the first conclusive evidence that Antarctica as a whole is also warming twice as fast. This “polar amplification” of increasing temperatures across Antarctica shows a current rate of warming 50% higher […]

East Antarctica’s “Weak Underbelly” Retreating Nearly as Fast as West Antarctic Glaciers

The Cryosphere, 31 August 2023 Latest observations confirm that the Vanderford Glacier in Wilkes Land, East Antarctica, is the third fastest retreating glacier in Antarctica over the past two decades. West Antarctica receives the bulk of attention for ice loss, but this study show such rapid loss is nearly matched even in parts of East […]

Perspective: Sweltering Heatwaves Paint Grim Outlook for Many Glaciers Globally

News Briefing, 25 August 2023 Soaring temperatures have visibly impacted many mountain glaciers across the planet in past months, as recent heatwaves shrink snowpack, deplete water resources and create unstable ground at risk of sudden collapse. Last week, Swiss weather service scientists reported that they had to climb to a record altitude of almost 5,300 […]

Catastrophic Penguin Die-off Caused by Antarctica Sea Ice Decline

Communications Earth & Environment, 24 August 2023 Researchers have confirmed that an extremely early Antarctic sea ice breakup led to the catastrophic die-off of emperor penguin chicks in the last breeding season, in November 2022. The event, which killed up to 10,000 young birds, is the highest rate of emperor penguin breeding failure ever recorded. […]

COP27 Video of the Week: “Witnesses of a Melting Glacier: Monitoring Activity from Marmolada to the Peaks of Georgia”

In summer 2022, a team of scientists undertook expeditions to Italy and Georgia to monitor the melting of glaciers, and produced a documentary film detailing their work. This COP27 side event offers an inside look at their observations from Marmolada, Rila National Park, and Mount Kazbek. Speakers include Francesca Mancarella, Advocacy Specialist at UNICEF Italy; […]

Melting Glaciers Expose Vulnerable New Ecosystems in Need of Protection

Nature, 16 August 2023 An international team of glaciologists has created the first assessment of new ecosystems that will emerge due to future glacier retreat. Under a high emission scenario, half of the area covered by mountain glaciers could disappear by 2100. Rapidly curbing emissions to remain within 1.5°C could limit that loss to one-fifth, […]

Permafrost Riverbanks Erode Faster in a Warming Arctic

Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 20 July 2023 Rising air and water temperatures have increased riverbank erosion in permafrost regions, threatening communities and infrastructure built along rivers across the Arctic. This study measured the heat transferred from flowing water into the frozen soil and sediments of riverbanks. Researchers found that erosion rates directly increase […]

COP27 Video of the Week: “Glaciers of Colombia and Ecuador”

Mountain glaciers provide an essential source of freshwater for downstream communities, particularly during the dry season. This COP27 session explored the direct and indirect consequences of glacier loss; needed emissions reductions to prevent or minimize this outcome; ways to adapt, and levels at which adaptation may not be feasible. Speakers include Dr. Heïdi Sevestre, Arctic […]

Every Increment of Warming Increases Antarctic Extreme Events, Global Hazards

Frontiers in Environmental Science, 8 August 2023 Extreme events in Antarctica will become more frequent and pronounced unless drastic action is taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. This study documents the alarming increase in extreme heatwaves, all-time low sea ice conditions, ice shelf collapse and species population crashes that are […]

Extreme Melt Events Increase Sea Level Projections from the Greenland by 14%

The Cryosphere, 27 July 2023 A new process currently missing from climate models could increase sea level contributions from the Greenland Ice Sheet by up to 14% under our current high emissions pathway. Climate change increases the frequency of “anticyclones” (high-pressure systems) getting stuck over the Greenland Ice Sheet — leading to extreme melt events […]

COP27 Video of the Week: “The Arctic Ocean and Mid-latitudes: What’s Up with the Weather?”

The Arctic experiences warming up to four times faster than the global average; and the loss of sea ice is linked by some researchers to warming in Europe, making communities ever more vulnerable to dangerous heat waves and severe storms. This COP27 session discussed the science behind this possible connection; wider environmental and societal impacts; […]

Confirmation that NW Greenland was Ice-Free During Sustained 1°C-2°C Warming in Earth’s Past

Science, 20 July 2023 Ancient sediments trapped beneath the northwestern portion of Greenland’s ice sheet confirm ice-free conditions existed for around 16,000 years there, during a period of only 1°C-2°C of warming. That sustained warmer period occurred 400,000 years ago, for about 30,000 years total, when sea levels were 6-13 meters higher than today. Modeling […]

Continued High Emissions Increase Risk of AMOC Collapse Between 2025-2095

Nature Communications, 25 July 2023 New findings reveal that if global fossil emissions are not reduced, the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) could collapse as soon as 2025 — in two years — with a range up to 2095, and central estimate of 2050. The AMOC is a large system of Atlantic ocean currents that […]

Video of the Week: “Understanding Ice Sheet Stability and its Ocean Circulation and Sea-level Rise Impacts” with Benjamin Keisling, Hannah Baranes and Cecilia Morales

Dr. Benjamin Keisling co-authored the above Greenland paper and volunteered as an Early Career Scientist (ECS) at the 2019 COP25 Cryosphere Pavilion, where he helped share the latest cryosphere science with policy makers. This side event includes Dr. Keisling, now at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics; and fellow COP25 ECS volunteers Cecilia Morales […]