Study Forecasts Warmer and Wetter Arctic This Century

The Cryosphere, 5 March 2024 This major study reveals how Arctic rivers will change over the next eight decades if the climate continues to warm, highlighting how permafrost thaw and a faster water cycle will greatly alter this region’s landscape and ecosystems. Historically, most water going into Arctic rivers flows atop frozen permafrost soils, which […]

COP28 Video of the Week: “What Everyone Should Know About Permafrost Thaw”

During the first week of climate negotiations, Arctic scientists summarized the current state of monitoring, measuring, and accounting for carbon emissions produced by permafrost thaw. Key topics included loss and damage in the Arctic, land degradation and displacement of Arctic communities, and the need for co-produced resilience strategies. Abby Fennelly from the Woodwell Climate Research […]

Disappearing Communities on US Coasts by 2050 Mapped in New Study

Nature, 6 March 2024 This study combined sinking land measurements, sea-level rise projections, and tide charts to provide a comprehensive overview of potential flooding from global ice loss in 32 major U.S. coastal cities. The economic cost of home properties newly exposed to flooding by 2050 could reach $64 billion on the Atlantic, $22 billion […]

Greenland Ice Loss Intensifies European Summer Heat

Weather and Climate Dynamics, 28 February 2024 Europe will become even hotter and drier in coming decades as melting from the Greenland ice sheet speeds up, intensifying weather extremes beyond what climate models predicted from fossil fuel emissions alone. This is the first study to unravel how influxes of meltwater in the North Atlantic would […]

First European Climate Risk Assessment Report

European Environment Agency, 10 March 2024 This policy-oriented report identifies the top 36 “climate risks” facing Europe, warning that many of these have already reached critical levels and could become catastrophic by 2100 without urgent and decisive emissions reductions. Nearly all of these climate risks, from flooding to heatwaves, are driven by the impacts of […]

COP28 Video of the Week: “Early Warning Signs of Sea Level Rise from East Antarctica”

The East Antarctic Ice Sheet is the world’s largest ice mass, storing over 52 meters of sea-level rise. It is often viewed as less vulnerable to global warming than the West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, but recent work has detected worrying signs from East Antarctica and its surrounding oceans, suggesting that we are close […]

Very Low Emissions Could Protect Arctic Summer Sea Ice

Nature Reviews Earth & Environment, 5 March 2024 This review paper provides a clear message: the frequency and length of future sea ice-free periods in the Arctic directly depends on future CO2 emissions. Only the lowest emissions scenario, consistent with 1.5°C offers a possibility of maintaining a perennial sea ice cover. Up to three months […]

Three Record-breaking Summers Reveal “Critical Transition” for Antarctic Sea Ice

NSIDC: News & Analysis and Journal of Climate, 6 March 2024 For the third summer in a row, Antarctic sea ice coverage has dropped below two million square kilometers, a threshold which had not been breached since satellite records started in the 1980s. A new study labels these increasingly intense and long-lasting extreme events as […]

COP28 Video of the Week: “What the Extreme 2023 Sea Ice Minimum Tells Us About Antarctica’s Future”

Last year, Antarctic sea ice reached its lowest summer area since satellite records began, followed by a record-low winter sea ice maximum. This COP28 session provided an expert briefing on the global climate and ecosystem implications of 2023’s Antarctic sea ice observations, framing the year in comparison to future 1.5°C and 2°C scenario projections. Dr. […]

Widespread West Antarctic Retreat Began Already in 1940s

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 26 February 2024 An extreme El Niño warming in the 1940s triggered dramatic thinning and retreat of the massive Thwaites and Pine Island glaciers in West Antarctica, sending them into a sustained period of ice loss from which they did not recover, even when cooler temperatures later ensued. […]

COP28 Video of the Week: “Melting Ice Shelves Today Could Lead to the Collapse of West Antarctica”

Today’s temperatures have already locked in an unavoidable increase in West Antarctic ice shelf melting and rapid ocean warming, of approximately triple the historical rate through the end of the century. However, if global temperatures remain below the lower 1.5°C Paris limit, rates of ice shelf melting start to slow by 2100, suggesting that further […]

Only Low Emissions Can Protect Even Best-case Antarctic MPAs from Severe Ocean Acidification

Nature Communications, 4 January 2024 Only the lowest emissions scenarios (SSP1-2.6) with rapid and aggressive fossil fuel reductions can prevent “severe” acidification in the Southern Ocean, while even intermediate scenarios (SSP 2-4.5 and above) will expose ecosystems along the Antarctic continental shelves to increasingly hazardous conditions from surface to seafloor. Plankton at the base of […]

Antarctic Ice Shelves Melting Away from Stabilizing Seafloor Anchors

Nature, 21 February 2024 Rising temperatures have caused the disappearance of many “pinning points” which anchor ice shelves to the seafloor around West Antarctica and regions of East Antarctica over the past five decades. Ice shelf pinning points are fundamental to ice sheet stability, serving as buttresses that slow the flow of ice into the […]

Potential Physical Early Warning Signs of Atlantic Ocean Circulation Collapse

Science Advances, 9 February 2024 This paper identifies early warning signs for collapse of the AMOC (Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation). Authors definitively concluded that sudden AMOC collapse is no longer a theoretical concept for the global climate system, and noted that several of the physical ocean changes expected ahead of collapse have already been observed […]

COP28 Video of the Week: “Antarctic and Southern Ocean Ecosystems Under Severe Threat from Climate Change”

Climate change poses a severe threat to Antarctic and Southern Ocean ecosystems, from sea ice loss to warming waters and irreversible ocean acidification. This side event summarized the dramatic changes already occurring in polar oceans today, and outlined the global consequences of continued fossil fuel emissions. Leading scientists explained the necessary policy-level action required to […]