Narrow Surface Fractures Destabilize Ice Sheets

Nature Geoscience, 19 June 2023 Meltwater flows into millions of hairline cracks across the surface of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, transferring heat deep into the ice and rendering them more vulnerable to climate warming than previously estimated. These centimeter-wide fractures are too small to be detected by satellites, but they allow streams of […]

COP27 Video of the Week: “The Disappearing Glaciers of Svalbard” with Ugo Nanni

Svalbard is one of the fastest-warming regions on Earth, and these high temperatures have driven unprecedented rates of glacier ice loss as well as “surges” – glaciers that suddenly speed up, moving up to tens of meters/day for short periods. This session from COP27 explains the consequences of Arctic amplification on snow and ice loss, […]

Decline in Southern Ocean Krill Due to Global Warming Threatens Whale Populations

Scientific Reports, 6 June 2023 Diminishing stocks of Antarctic krill in the Southern Ocean have decreased the average weight of southern right whales by 23% in the past three decades, reducing their ability to produce healthy offspring. This is the first study to measure the long-term bodily harm of decreasing Southern Ocean productivity on capital […]

Deep Ocean Currents Slowing Earlier than Predicted in Southern Ocean

Nature Climate Change, 25 May 2023 In a major basin south of Australia, increased meltwater runoff from Antarctica has decreased deep ocean oxygen levels and slowed overturning circulation by one-third over the past three decades. This region serves as an early-warning signal for global deep ocean changes due to its downstream position from the Antarctic […]

COP27 Video of the Week: “Southern Ocean Ecosystems: Need for Greater Understanding, Research and Protection”

Southern Ocean ecosystems are critically important to regional biodiversity, global food security and ocean health. These ecosystems are under severe threat from climate change and other direct human impacts. This side event at COP27 brought together key scientific and policy organizations working in the Southern Ocean to discuss the major priorities for understanding and protecting […]

Every Degree of Warming Increases Extreme Rainfall in Northern Hemisphere Mountain Regions

Nature, 28 June 2023 Rising temperatures turn snowfall into rainfall, increasing the susceptibility of mountain regions to extreme rain and hazards such as floods, landslides, and soil erosion. This study provides the first assessment of high-altitude “hotspots” across the Northern Hemisphere, which face compounding hazards as atmospheric warming increases the fraction of water that precipitates […]

COP27 Video of the Week: “Mountains, Glaciers, and People: Preventing Glacial Lake Outburst Floods in the Third Pole”

This session from COP27 brought together a wide range of speakers to share insights on the importance of urgent policy action to reduce global emissions and help mountain communities adapt to the rapid and devastating consequences of glacier and snow loss in the Hindu Kush Himalaya. This side event was organized by the International Centre […]

Landmark Report: Himalayan Glaciers Disappearing Two-Thirds Faster Than Before

20 June 2023 Building on the 2019 Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) assessment report, a major study from the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) provides the most complete assessment of snow, ice, and permafrost in the Himalayas to date. The report draws on recent scientific advances to map the extensive links between cryosphere, water, […]

ESOTC 2022 Report: Record Loss of Glacier Ice in the European Alps Last Summer

Copernicus Climate Change Service, 20 June 2023 The sixth annual European State of the Climate (ESOTC) Report for 2022 was released June 20 by the European Commission, providing a detailed analysis of the climate this past year and the latest observations on major cryosphere dynamics, with a special focus on the Arctic. The first section […]

Video of the Week: “Loss of Mountain Water Resources and Sea-level Rise: Why 2°C is Too High for 3.5 Billion,” June 8, 2023 at SB58 in Bonn, Germany

Mountain, polar and low-lying nations came together in a side event at the SB58 meetings on June 8, 2023 to discuss the latest cryosphere science and its key implications for UNFCCC adaptation, loss and damage, and mitigation processes. Negotiators from a wide range of countries raised their concern about the global impacts of snow and […]

More Sensitive Arctic Sea Ice: Disappearing Faster Due to Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Nature Communications, 6 June 2023 This study, calibrating latest models from the IPCC with actual observations, found greenhouse gases as the main driver of Arctic sea ice loss over the past four decades; and in a new finding, also the leading cause of the ice loss now occurring during all seasons/every month of the year. […]

Video of the Week: “Silent Witness: The Disappearance of Arctic Sea Ice”: Dirk Notz at COP25

Dr. Dirk Notz co-authored the above paper and spoke at the Cryosphere Pavilion at COP25 in Madrid, offering insight on historical trends in Arctic sea ice, its far-reaching significance for ecosystems and weather patterns, and how its rapid decline amplifies Arctic warming today. “The disappearance of Arctic sea ice, in addition to everything that it […]

ATCM45: Key Reflections and First Climate Action Day

Antarctica: ATCM XLV – CEP XXV in Helsinki, Finland Released by ICCI on June 14, 2023 The 45th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) began on May 29 in Helsinki, Finland; along with the associated advisory body, the Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP) meeting in its 25th session. The Antarctic Treaty includes primarily those nations engaged […]

Earlier Snowmelt Across Western North America Threatens Summer Water Supplies

Nature Communications Earth & Environment, 22 May 2023 The ability of mountain snowpack to store water has significantly decreased across 25% of the Cascades, Rockies, Sierra Nevada and Columbia Mountains over the past seven decades. In coming summers, the Western U.S. and Canada will experience increased risk of wildfires and water shortages, with some regions […]

COP26 Video of the Week: “Snowpack, Glaciers and Water Supply” with Regine Hock

The IPCC AR6 Synthesis Report made it clear that glaciers are losing ice worldwide, even in high altitude regions where they were previously stable. Most glacier regions have even passed “peak water,” where melt was at its highest; and snowpack also is decreasing in important watersheds, such as the North American West. This session from […]