Arctic Sea Ice Loss Fuels Extreme European Snowfall

Nature Geoscience, April 1 The loss of Arctic sea ice directly contributed to the extreme snowfall and freezing across Europe during February 2018. This winter event was driven by an anomalously warm Barents Sea. With a 60% ice-free surface, the Barents Sea pushed 140 gigatons of water vapor into a cold northeasterly airflow over northern […]

Thresholds of Irreversible Retreat Identified on Major Portion of West Antarctic Ice Sheet

The Cryosphere, March 25 Located in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, Pine Island is currently the fastest melting glacier in Antarctica and accounts for a quarter of all ice lost in the region. Three distinct thresholds or tipping points, rather than one single event, were identified for the Pine Island Glacier in response to increases […]

Lightning Strikes Triple in the Arctic – Possible Source of Increased Wildfires

Geophysical Research Letters, March 22 Lightning strikes in the Arctic, potentially a source of increasing wildfires, tripled from 2010 to 2020, a finding researchers attributed to rising temperatures from global warming. The results suggest Arctic residents in northern Russia, Canada, Europe and Alaska need to prepare for this increased risk of wildfire and infrastructure damage. […]

Evidence of Complete Greenland Ice Sheet Loss During Relatively Recent Interglacial

The Cryosphere, March 18 Sediment at the bottom of the Camp Century ice core, collected 120 km from the coast in northwestern Greenland, reveals that Greenland fully melted and re-formed at least once in the past 1.1 million years; possibly as recently as 400,000 years ago. This might mean that the Greenland ice sheet is […]

Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Wetting Reduces Permafrost Thaw from Global Warming

Earth and Planetary Science Letters, March 10 The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is the highest and most extensive permafrost region in the mid-latitudes, and is considered to be one of the most sensitive regions to global climate change. It has experienced elevated levels of both warming and rainfall since the mid-1990s. Increased levels of rainfall will continue […]

Extreme Meltwater Conditions on the Antarctic Peninsula’s Largest Remaining Ice Shelf

The Cryosphere, February 25 During 2019-2020, surface melt duration and extent on the George VI Ice Shelf hit record-breaking highs, compared to the past 30 years of distinctly lower melt. The George VI Ice Shelf is 56 km long, and buttresses more land ice than any other remaining in the Peninsula. Large ponds of surface […]

Snow Depth and Duration Rapidly Decreasing Across the Entire European Alps

The Cryosphere, March 18 The first Alpine-wide analysis of snow trends, based on in situ measurements from six Alpine countries has revealed a significant decrease in snow. The snow season or duration has shrunk by 22-34 days in the region; with a decline in snow depth of around 40%, or 8.4% on average every decade, […]

Acceleration of Western Arctic Sea Ice Loss Linked to Warming Pacific Air Currents

Nature Communications, March 9 The western Arctic – located north of Alaska and Canada – has seen the fastest sea ice decline in centuries. The Pacific North American (PNA) air currents are one of the important drivers of this sea ice decline, accounting for more than 25% of the reduction. PNA circulation has pushed heat […]

Future Increase in Glacial Lakes in Himalayas and Central Asia

Journal of Glaciology, March 2 This new inventory of potential future lakes detected more than 25,000 “overdeepenings” (valleys gouged into the bedrock underneath glaciers due to water erosion) in High Mountain Asia that are over 1,000 m2 large, and nearly 3,000 overdeepenings over 10,000 m2. Water from precipitation and ice melt can accumulate in these deep […]

Sea-level Rise by 2100 Could Exceed IPCC Projections Under High Emissions Scenarios

One Earth, December 18, 2020 In relation to the above work on Antarctic sea-level rise, this late 2020 paper by several past and present IPCC authors may be of interest.  It addresses concerns that many current ice sheet models and data sets may well underestimate projections of sea-level rise from the Greenland and Antarctic ice […]

Projections of Antarctic Ice Sheet Loss by 2100 Using CMIP6 Models for IPCC AR6

The Cryosphere, February 26 The contribution of Antarctica to global sea level rise by 2100 varies widely based on the many different models included in the new “ISMIP6” effort. This work is based on the CMIP6 earth systems models developed for the next IPCC Assessment Report, AR6, Part 1 of which will be released in […]

One of Earth’s Largest Ocean Circulation Systems Slows to Unprecedented Rates

Nature Geoscience, February 25 After a long and relatively stable period, one of Earth’s largest ocean circulation systems — the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) —started weakening during the early 19th century; followed by a second, more rapid, decline in the mid-20th century. Over the past few months, according to this study the AMOC has […]

Melting of Southern European Glacier is Faster Than in any Previous Warm Phase During the Last 2000 Years

The Cryosphere, March 3 The response of glaciers in southern European mountain ranges, such as the Pyrenees, to previous warm periods in the Holocene (an epoch covering the previous 12,000 years) has not been well documented. This study concludes that the Monte Perdido Glacier, located in the Central Pyrenees of northeastern Spain, lost significant mass […]

Projections of Greenland Ice Sheet Loss by 2100 Using CMIP6 Models for IPCC AR6

The Cryosphere, February 26 The contribution of Greenland to global sea level rise by 2100 can be as low as 20 mm, and as high as 160 mm (16 cm), depending on whether we follow low or high emissions pathways during the rest of this century; based on modeling from the new “ISMIP6” effort.  This work is based […]

Major Infrastructure Damage in Northwestern Greenland due to Accelerating Glacier Melt

Journal of Glaciology, February 17 In northwestern Greenland, rapid increases in meltwater from Qaanaaq Glacier resulted in two abnormally intense floods during the summers of 2015 and 2016.  The high discharge associated with the 2015 flood, over three times higher than normal from this glacier, came from intense melt caused by warm temperatures and strong […]