COP-26 Video of the Week: “The Permafrost-Sea Ice Connection” with Gustaf Hugelius and Robbie Mallet

Loss of sea ice is associated with permafrost thaw in Earth’s past, likely in part due to damaging wave action. This side event explores that connection, and looks at projections should temperature rise continue. The main presenters include Dr. Gustaf Hugelius, Co-Director of the Bolin Center of Climate Research/Stockholm University; and Robbie Mallet, a Cryosphere […]

Drought and Temperature Rise Doubled Glacier Ice Loss in Desert Andes Over Past Two Decades

Journal of Glaciology, 12 May 2022 Glaciers in the Jáchal river basin of Argentina are rapidly losing ice. One-quarter of the Agua Negra glacier has disappeared within the past sixty years due to unusually high temperatures, exacerbated by a long-term drought. As global temperatures rise, these mountainous desert regions of Argentina experience more intense dry […]

Decline in Arctic Sea Ice Increases Dangerous Waves Along Alaska’s Northern Coast

The Cryosphere, 5 May 2022 Arctic sea ice plays a crucial role in protecting the Alaskan coastline from open ocean waves generated in the Beaufort Sea. Seasonal sea ice forms near the shore during the fall, gradually merging with the thicker multi-year ice to create a layer across the surface that dampens the waves underneath. […]

Loss of Antarctic Sea Ice Can Destabilize Ice Shelves and Thereby Ice Sheet

Nature Geoscience, 5 May 2022 The accumulation of sea ice near the Antarctic Peninsula provides a buffer that dampens approaching ocean waves, preventing them from smashing into the ice shelves that buttress the glaciers and ice sheet behind. This layer of defence stabilizes the Antarctic Ice Sheet, reducing the number of icebergs breaking off from […]

COP-26 Video of the Week: “Greenland’s Tipping Point” with Twila Moon and Jason Box

Greenland’s ice is 3 kilometers thick, and runs entirely to its bedrock base, the center of which is below sea level. What is the tipping point of Greenland, where the altitude of the ice sheet is so lowered by surface melt that near-complete loss is unavoidable? This session offers an explanation of this important and […]

Glacial Lake Flooding Produces Devastating Damage in Pakistan

News Brief: 11 May 2022 Record-breaking heatwaves and rapid glacier melting triggered a devastating flood last week that wiped out a bridge, damaged homes, and swept away two major power plants in the Hunzu district of Pakistan. Extremely high temperatures over the past month accelerated snow and ice loss from the Shishpar glacier, increasing the […]

Low Emissions Pathways Could Prevent Irreversible Loss of Remaining Greenland Ice Shelves

Nature Communications, 9 May 2022 More than 40% of the Petermann ice shelf has disappeared over the past decade. Rising global temperatures increase the flow of warm water against the bottom of floating ice shelves, accelerating melt and rendering them more vulnerable to collapse. Ice shelves serve as gatekeepers; they restrain the flow of larger […]

Hidden Groundwater Reservoirs in Antarctica May Increase Ice Loss

Science, 5 May 2022 This study provides the first direct evidence of a deep groundwater system below the surface of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. These hidden pockets of water reduce the friction between the ice sheet and underlying bedrock, accelerating the flow of ice into the ocean. This groundwater system can also dig pathways through […]

COP-26 Video of the Week: “Connections Between Arctic Sea Ice Loss and European Weather” with Alasdair Skelton

This COP-26 session delves into the connections between loss of Arctic Sea ice, pollution and accelerated warming and extreme weather events in Europe and North America. The video features Dr. Alasdair Skelton, former Co-Director of the Bolin Centre for Climate Research/Stockholm University. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8rsZhVrILI

Rising Temperatures Increase Vulnerability of the “Third Pole” to Climate Change

News Briefing: 28 April 2022 The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), supported by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) has released a comprehensive assessment of environmental changes in the “Third Pole,” the entirety of the glacier-capped region in South Asia containing the largest reserve of freshwater outside the poles. The Third Pole provides […]

Arctic Sea Ice Loss May Have Lasting Impacts on Weather Systems and Extremes

Nature Communications, 19 April 2022 The current rapid loss of Arctic sea ice may intensify temperature and precipitation trends by 50% in Europe, North America, West Africa and South America for several decades. Rising global temperatures accelerate the flow of heat from the North Atlantic Ocean into the Barents-Kara Seas and nearby Arctic regions. The […]

Current Human Emissions on Path to Cause Mass Marine Extinction Event

Science, 28 April 2022 Under a high emissions scenario, the combination of ocean acidification, ocean warming and oxygen loss — especially in the polar oceans — will result in catastrophic marine species loss by 2300. The scale of loss would be on par with the five mass ocean extinction events in Earth’s past. Rapidly curbing […]

COP-26 Video of the Week: “Why is West Antarctica So Important to Near-Term Sea-Level Rise?” with IPCC’s Jonathan Bamber and Rob DeConto

The geography of the West Antarctica holds the key as to why this part of the continent’s massive ice sheet may be vulnerable to rapid collapse, leading to potentially rapid sea-level rise that might reach several meters per century, especially at temperatures exceeding 3-4°C above pre-industrial. This session features multi-report IPCC authors and editors Dr. […]

Permafrost Thaw Triggers Collapse of Infrastructure in Denali National Park, Alaska

News Briefing: 26 April 2022 Denali National Park in Alaska will be largely closed to the public for the next two years due to an unprecedented series of landslides caused by thawing permafrost. These have broken away several sections of the single, 92-mile road leading through the park. As global temperatures rise, they accelerate the […]

Antarctic Sea Ice Hits All-time Record Low

Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, 19 April 2022 During February of this year, the Antarctic sea ice cover shrank below two million square kilometers for the first time since the satellite record began in 1978. Rising global temperatures in combination with the full force of several global climate patterns produced this record-breaking low. Unusually strong wind […]

Air Currents from the Tropics Destabilize Antarctic Ice Shelves

Communications Earth & Environment, 14 April 2022 Over the past two decades, strong “atmospheric rivers” have triggered more than 60% of the major calving events of the Larsen A and Larsen B ice shelves and preceded their main collapses. Atmospheric rivers are long, flowing air currents that carry water vapor from the tropics and deposit […]

COP-26 Video of the Week: “Preservation of Glaciers at 1.5°C” with IPCC Valerie Masson-Delmotte, Regine Hock, and Georg Kaser

For some mid-latitude glacier regions such as Scandinavia and the western United States, the difference between 1.5°C and 2°C is the difference between some small preservation of glacier ice; and none at all. This side event features a region-by-region survey of the benefits of meeting the 1.5°C goal for the world’s glacier systems by three […]

Mountain Glaciers in Washington State Could Disappear By 2070

Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 19 April 2022 Winter temperatures have increased by nearly 1°C in the Olympic mountain range over the past century, resulting in the disappearance of more than half its original glacial area. Glaciers in the Olympic mountains are particularly vulnerable to climate change due to both their low elevation, and […]

Northward Migration of Pacific Salmon Signals A Rapidly Changing Arctic

Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 18 March 2022 This study provides the first confirmed record of Pacific salmon populations surviving and reproducing in Arctic waters near Alaska. As global temperatures rise, an increasing number of species are able to migrate northward into the Arctic Ocean due to more favorable water temperatures and the […]