Stabilizing Long-term Temperatures Below 1.5°C is Essential for the Greenland Ice Sheet

Nature, 18 October 2023 New research suggests that the Greenland Ice Sheet may be slightly more resistant to global warming than previously thought, with complete loss occurring if global temperatures stabilize between 1.7-2.3°C (median 2.1°C), rather than median 1.6°C as in previous studies. It also found that reducing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere as […]

Unavoidable Future Increase in West Antarctic Ice Shelf Melting over the 21st Century

Nature Climate Change, 23 October 2023 A state-of-the-art model suggests that a widespread increase in West Antarctic ice shelf melting, including in regions crucial for maintaining the stability of the bordering ice sheet, is now locked in to occur through at least 2100. This is because water temperatures in the Amundsen Sea off West Antarctica […]

Nearly Half of Antarctica’s Ice Shelves Have Shrunk in the Past 25 Years

Science Advances, 12 October 2023 Latest observations reveal that 71 out of the 162 massive ice shelves around Antarctica are shrinking with no sign of recovery, providing striking evidence of Antarctica’s vulnerability to climate warming. Ice shelves extend from the continent and float atop sea water, stabilizing the massive glaciers behind them. Researchers expected these […]

Video of the Week: “A Tale of Two Poles: Sea Ice at the September Equinox 2023”

Last month, Antarctica’s sea ice hit its maximum (largest) extent towards the end of Antarctic winter; but that “maximum” was the lowest ever observed, reaching only about 17 million km2. That was over 1 million km2 than the previous record. Sea ice scientists are beginning to speak of a state change in Antarctic sea ice, […]

Antarctica’s Glacial Border Shifts Many Kilometers Every Day with the Tides

The Cryosphere, 26 September 2023 The “grounding line” of the southern Ronne Ice Shelf in Antarctica can migrate up to 15 kilometers daily with changing tides, which can flush ocean water several kilometers inland under the ice sheet and increase melting. In less stable Antarctic regions, such as the Thwaites Glacier, this process is known […]

Video of the Week: “The Road to COP28: Melting Ice, Rising Seas and Why 2°C is Too High” from UNGA Climate Week

Following the UN General Assembly and Climate Ambition Summit in New York, leaders from the Ambition on Melting Ice (AMI) high-level group organized an event making clear the need for urgent action to take 2°C off the table at COP28. Minister of Climate and Environment Espen Barth-Eide, Norway, and Julio Cordano, Director for Climate, Environment […]

Current Climate Warming Enough to Set West Antarctica on Path to Irreversible Collapse

The Cryosphere, 7 September 2023 Two groundbreaking studies reveal that remaining at today’s 1.2°C could trigger the slow but certain loss of parts of West Antarctica over coming centuries, even with no additional warming beyond current temperatures. Once initiated, this ice loss and sea level rise cannot be reversed. Experts from major European research institutions […]

Latest Observations: Antarctica Warming Nearly Two Times Faster Than the Rest of the World

Nature Climate Change, 7 September 2023 The Arctic long has been characterized by warming two-four times the global average; now, ice core measurements provide the first conclusive evidence that Antarctica as a whole is also warming twice as fast. This “polar amplification” of increasing temperatures across Antarctica shows a current rate of warming 50% higher […]

East Antarctica’s “Weak Underbelly” Retreating Nearly as Fast as West Antarctic Glaciers

The Cryosphere, 31 August 2023 Latest observations confirm that the Vanderford Glacier in Wilkes Land, East Antarctica, is the third fastest retreating glacier in Antarctica over the past two decades. West Antarctica receives the bulk of attention for ice loss, but this study show such rapid loss is nearly matched even in parts of East […]

Perspective: Sweltering Heatwaves Paint Grim Outlook for Many Glaciers Globally

News Briefing, 25 August 2023 Soaring temperatures have visibly impacted many mountain glaciers across the planet in past months, as recent heatwaves shrink snowpack, deplete water resources and create unstable ground at risk of sudden collapse. Last week, Swiss weather service scientists reported that they had to climb to a record altitude of almost 5,300 […]

Catastrophic Penguin Die-off Caused by Antarctica Sea Ice Decline

Communications Earth & Environment, 24 August 2023 Researchers have confirmed that an extremely early Antarctic sea ice breakup led to the catastrophic die-off of emperor penguin chicks in the last breeding season, in November 2022. The event, which killed up to 10,000 young birds, is the highest rate of emperor penguin breeding failure ever recorded. […]

COP27 Video of the Week: “Witnesses of a Melting Glacier: Monitoring Activity from Marmolada to the Peaks of Georgia”

In summer 2022, a team of scientists undertook expeditions to Italy and Georgia to monitor the melting of glaciers, and produced a documentary film detailing their work. This COP27 side event offers an inside look at their observations from Marmolada, Rila National Park, and Mount Kazbek. Speakers include Francesca Mancarella, Advocacy Specialist at UNICEF Italy; […]

Melting Glaciers Expose Vulnerable New Ecosystems in Need of Protection

Nature, 16 August 2023 An international team of glaciologists has created the first assessment of new ecosystems that will emerge due to future glacier retreat. Under a high emission scenario, half of the area covered by mountain glaciers could disappear by 2100. Rapidly curbing emissions to remain within 1.5°C could limit that loss to one-fifth, […]

Permafrost Riverbanks Erode Faster in a Warming Arctic

Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 20 July 2023 Rising air and water temperatures have increased riverbank erosion in permafrost regions, threatening communities and infrastructure built along rivers across the Arctic. This study measured the heat transferred from flowing water into the frozen soil and sediments of riverbanks. Researchers found that erosion rates directly increase […]