Accelerating Future Ice Loss for Svalbard Glaciers

Journal of Glaciology, February 17 Although several southern glaciers on Svalbard have retreated significantly in recent decades, the amount of ice overall has remained the same or shown very slight gains through 2018.  However, over the next forty years the average mass of Svalbard glaciers is anticipated to enter a phase of accelerating decline. This pattern […]

Experts Estimate of Carbon Emissions from Subsea Permafrost

Environmental Research Letters, December 22 Emissions from subsea permafrost – existing in near-coastal waters, mostly inundated at the end of the last Ice Age – long have comprised a question mark for global carbon budgets.  This expert assessment, with 32 co-authors estimated the total amount of subsea permafrost as containing 560 Gt carbon in organic […]

Catastrophic Indian Flood Appears Caused by Landslide, Not Glacier Collapse

Preliminary analysis of satellite images reveals that the massive, catastrophic floods in the Chamoli region of northern India last weekend could be the result of a large landslide. The slab – made of ice and rock – was 500 m across at the top and 150 m thick. The huge mass came crashing down the […]

Increased Outburst Flood Hazard in Peru from Climate Warming and Glacier Retreat

Nature, February 4 Over the past 140 years, the Cordillera Blanca region of the Peruvian Andes has warmed by 1°C, with 95% of that warming attributed to human emissions. This warming has triggered a dramatic acceleration in the retreat of the Palcaraju Glacier, with its meltwater causing expansion of Lake Palcacocha at the glacier’s base. […]

Massive Glacier in East Antarctica Shows Signs of Vulnerability

The Cryosphere, February 11 The massive Denman Glacier in East Antarctica, a 19 km-wide stream of ice that flows over the deepest undersea canyon of the continent, holds 1.5m of sea-level rise and is beginning to show signs of instability; potentially in response to the warming ocean at its base. During the past 50 years, […]

New Evidence of a Freshwater Arctic Ocean Covered by Thick Ice

Nature, February 3 During the two most recent ice ages, the Arctic Ocean was almost completely isolated from the rest of the world’s oceans by a thick ice shelf bordering the polar ice sheets covering the Arctic Ocean and parts of North America and northern Europe. This ice shelf cut off connections to the Atlantic […]

IPCC Projections of 2100 Sea-level Rise May Be Too Conservative

Ocean Science, February 2 Ice sheets and oceans take centuries to fully respond to changes in greenhouse gas concentrations and atmospheric temperatures, and the amount of sea level rise that will take place by 2100 is only the beginning of this response, which will take place over many centuries.  New models that correlate average global […]

Heightened Risk of Episodic Flooding and Water Shortages in the Himalayan Region

Nature Reviews Earth & Environment, February 2 Glacier melt and meltwater run-off in the Himalayan region will likely peak in the next few decades (around 2050 under a medium emissions scenario) and then decline as the glaciers shrink. Glaciers in nearly all this region have seen accelerating rates of ice loss for the past several […]

Mineral Phosphorus Accelerates Surface Melt on the Greenland Ice Sheet

Nature Communications, January 25 Glacier ice algae blooms on the surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet form a dark layer of microbial growth that increases the amount of solar radiation the ice absorbs, melting it more rapidly. This phenomenon largely occurs on the southwest portion of the ice sheet, and is responsible for up to […]

New Measurements Show Greater Warming of the Southern Ocean

Nature Communications, January 21 New analysis of a rare time series of temperature data, collected over 25 years aboard the French Antarctic station’s resupply vessel L’Astrolabe in the portion of the Southern Ocean that separates Australia and Antarctica, shows rapid ocean warming beneath the surface layers of water circling Antarctica, at a rate of 0.3°C warming per […]

Greenland’s Surface Also to Show Net Ice Loss at Global Temperatures Above ~2.5°C

Geophysical Research Letters, January 19 Greenland has been losing mass and contributing to sea-level rise since the 1980’s, according to most studies, with most of this loss occurring through calving of icebergs where glaciers running from the ice sheet meet the ocean. Melting of the surface of the ice sheet each summer however is largely offset […]

2020 is the Hottest Year on Record Says NASA, Despite Cooling Influence of La Niña

Using 1951-1980 as baseline, NASA ranked 2020 as the warmest year on record by a narrow margin, while NOAA and the UK Met Office put 2020 in a close second place, essentially tied with 2016. This record or near-record is even more staggering considering the fact that 2020 saw the beginning of a La Niña, […]

New Understanding of Cloud Formation May Improve Climate Projections over Antarctica

Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, January 19 The ratio of ice to water in clouds strongly influences how much they reflect the sun’s rays, and whether they are primarily warming or cooling.  Scientists have struggled however to explain the large number of ice particles found in clouds above the coasts of Antarctica during the summer.  New […]

Number of Glacier-Related Landslides Doubles in High Mountain Asia During the Past 20 Years

Nature Scientific Reports, January 15 Glacial melting has been identified as one of the main triggers for larger and more frequent landslides in high mountain Asia (the eastern Pamir, western Himalayas, Hindu Kush, Karakoram, and western Kunlun mountains). For the past two decades, glacier extent in this region has decreased overall, while the number of […]

Heightened Risk of Water Stress in the Himalayas Under High Emissions Scenarios

Advancing Earth and Space Science, January 19   The response of Himalayan rivers to climate change is complex due to multiple competing factors: snowfall and snowmelt; rainfall; and glacier melt. This study focused on 5 river basins in the Central Himalayas, and found that snowmelt contributions to river flows will likely decrease by 2100 under both […]