COP27 Video of the Week: “Irreversible Impacts of 1.5°C Overshooting on the Cryosphere” with Climate Analytics’ Carl-Friedrich Schleussner and Uta Klönne, and Fabien Maussion

Irreversible impacts from cryosphere loss are already visible today due to increasing global warming. Crossing additional cryosphere thresholds will have far-reaching impacts across the world. In this side event, speakers presented the latest science showing that limiting warming to 1.5°C without overshoot is critical to avoid crossing the most catastrophic thresholds. Speakers included Dr. Carl-Friedrich […]

Decreasing Sea Ice Increases Ocean Temperatures and Glacier Melt in West Antarctica

Geophysical Research Letters, 21 March 2023 Disappearing sea ice near West Antarctica is sending warm water closer to the continent, with the potential to increase ocean temperatures under discharging glaciers by more than 1°C in the next three decades should today’s high emissions continue. On the other hand, a very low emissions pathway (SSP1-1.9, as […]

Rising Temperatures and Antarctic Ice Loss Produce First Sign of Slowing Global Ocean Circulation

Communication Earth & Environment, 13 March 2023 This study combines historical measurements with climate models to reveal that global meridional overturning circulation (GMOC) patterns — the planet-wide system of large ocean currents — have weakened by up to 20% over the last five decades near the seafloor around Antarctica. As temperatures rise, warm meltwater from […]

COP27 Video of the Week: “Committed Sea level Rise from Greenland at Today’s 1.1°C” with Jason Box

The Greenland Ice Sheet is three kilometers thick and has the potential to raise global sea levels by seven meters if completely melted. Cryosphere regions such as these directly respond to peak global temperatures, even if temperatures are lowered again. This presentation from COP27 provided an overview of Greenland’s temperature threshold (the point at which […]

Past Ice Sheet Collapsed at Rates of 50-600 Meters Per Day, Under Conditions Similar to the WAIS Today

Nature, 06 April 2023 A study of the earlier great ice sheet covering Scandinavia has found that when it collapsed about 19,000 years ago, it did so at rates up to 600 meters per day; far faster than anything measured by satellite data over the past 50 years. Indeed the slowest rate of collapse of […]

Increased Upwelling of Warmer Deep Ocean Waters Can Increase East Antarctic Ice Loss with Both Medium and High Emissions

Nature Communications, 1 April 2023 Increased warm water upwelling along the edges of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) has the potential to increase ice loss and resulting sea-level rise from the EAIS over the next 200 years, especially in the most vulnerable sections of the ice sheet. In addition to a general warming of […]

Increased Antarctic Ice Sheet Melt Could Cause 40% Slowdown of Deep Ocean Currents by 2050

Nature, 29 March 2023 Projected increases in Antarctic ice sheet melt, especially with high emissions, appear poised to drive a substantial slowdown of deep ocean currents in coming decades, potentially as early as 2050 should current emissions continue. This would cause deep and widespread warming of deep ocean waters, and a 40% slowdown of overturning […]

COP27 Video of the Week: “The Importance of the Paris Climate Agreement for Preventing Sea-level Rise from East Antarctica” with Chris Stokes and Florence Colleoni

The East Antarctic Ice Sheet contains 52 meters of sea level rise, and there are worrying signs of mass loss from some regions. Targeted at policymakers, this event summarizes the latest science and shows why we must satisfy the Paris Agreement to avoid several meters of sea level rise from the cryosphere’s ‘sleeping giant’. Presenters […]

Permafrost Thaw in European Alps Increases Hazards for Local Communities

News Briefing: 22 March 2023 Multiple research stations in the high mountains of France and Switzerland are observing more frequent and larger rockfalls as permafrost thaw increases every year. Although permafrost is commonly associated with the Arctic, such permanently frozen soil and sediments also are a feature of mountain landscapes. These sometimes fill the cracks […]

COP27 Video of the Week: “Intergenerational Justice and the Runaway Train of Committed Permafrost Emissions” with Gustaf Hugelius and Lisa Koperqualuk

Every increment of warming increases the amount of carbon released by thawing permafrost in the Arctic, and these emissions will continue for centuries even if temperatures lower again. In this session, speakers focus on intergenerational climate justice related to the ever-increasing burden of permafrost emissions on future generations. The event was organized by the Woodwell […]

Key Cryosphere Messages from the IPCC AR6 Synthesis Report: Climate Change 2023

Link to the Summary for Policy Makers: The IPCC on March 20, 2023 approved the final installment of the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), the “Synthesis Report,” bringing together the world’s leading scientists to create a comprehensive assessment of current climate change. The Summary for Policy Makers (SPM) is the result of over five days […]

Climate Models Likely Underestimate Future Arctic Ocean Warming and Sea Ice Loss

Journal of Climate, 15 March 2023 This study compared projected Arctic ocean temperatures from the most recent IPCC climate models with actual observations from the Arctic Ocean; and found that models consistently underestimated ocean temperatures and the degree of warming. It concluded that future Arctic warming and especially, sea ice loss will proceed much faster […]

Arctic Sea Ice Crossed Major Threshold of Loss in 2007, Becoming Weaker and More Vulnerable

Nature, 15 March 2023 An examination of decades of measurements from the Fram Strait concluded that Arctic sea ice crossed an essentially irreversible threshold of loss between 2005-2007, when fully half of the Arctic’s thick multi-year ice disappeared — and has never recovered. Even today, less than one-tenth of Arctic sea ice passing through the […]

Upcoming Side Event on March 23: “Cryosphere, Climate, Cooperation: Preserving Glaciers & Snow for the Water Action Agenda” at the UN 2023 Water Conference

For those attending the UN 2023 Water Conference next week, please join us in Conference Room 5 from 14:00-15:15 EDT on March 23 for a side event featuring science-policy discussion on glaciers, snow, and future water availability. Presenters will highlight the crucial importance of limiting global average temperature rise to 1.5°C to preserve the global […]

COP27 Video of the Week: “State of the Cryosphere in Peru: Progress and Challenges for Adaptation” with the Ministry of Environment of Peru

Bringing together a wide range of scientists and government representatives, this side event provided insight on the comprehensive management of climate change at a national level, with an emphasis on tropical glaciers and future water resources in Peru. Presenters shared the latest scientific findings carried out by the Peruvian National Institute for Research on Glaciers […]