Rising Temperatures Endanger Sea Ice Bracing Large Antarctic Glaciers

The Cryosphere, 10 April 2024 Antarctica’s coastline is fringed with sea ice that buttresses large glaciers around the continent, but increasing exposure to large ocean waves in a warming climate could remove this protective barrier. In the Antarctic Peninsula, “land-fast” sea ice anchored to the Larsen B coast for over a decade broke away in […]

Extreme Ice Loss from Greenland’s Largest Floating Ice Tongue

The Cryosphere, 22 March 2024 The floating portion (“ice tongue”) of Greenland’s critical 79° North glacier has thinned by one-third over the past three decades, with extremely high melt rates where land-based ice meets the ocean. Authors reveal how rising air temperatures produce meltwater lakes that have carved huge drainage channels through the ice into […]

COP28 Video of the Week: “Why East Antarctica is a ‘Sleeping Giant’ of Sea Level Rise”

The East Antarctic Ice Sheet stores the equivalent of 52 meters of sea-level rise, more than four times greater than both Greenland and West Antarctica combined. Although often viewed as less vulnerable to global warming, East Antarctica could increase global sea-level rise by several meters over the next few centuries if emissions remain on their […]

Earth’s Most Powerful Ocean Current Sensitive to Global Warming

Nature, 27 March 2024 Sediment records from the past five million years reveal that the massive Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) speeds up and slows down depending on Earth’s temperature, with previous warm periods bringing faster flow and increased Antarctic ice loss. During warm periods, these currents generate eddies that redirect warm water underneath floating ice […]

Coastal Hazards in the Alaskan Arctic Multiply with Sea Ice Loss

Communications Earth & Environment, 30 March 2024 Declining sea ice extent and lengthening open water conditions expose Arctic coastlines to more intense hazards every year, including storm surges, floods, and erosion. This paper assesses the vulnerability of Alaska to extreme wave events this century. Should current emissions continue, by 2070 the reduction in sea ice […]

Video of the Week: “Projections of an Ice-Free Arctic Ocean”

Dr. Alexandra Jahn, University of Colorado Boulder, is the lead author of a recent sea ice paper published in Nature, making clear that only the lowest emissions scenarios will minimize the frequency and length of future sea ice-free periods. She outlined key takeaways for policy makers during an Arctic 21 meeting on April 4; a […]

Arctic 21: Bringing Together Cryosphere Science and Policy

Dear Cryosphere Capsule readers, We would like to share with you a recording of the last “Arctic 21” meeting. This group has been actively meeting for more than a decade; and is a mixture of current and former government representatives, think tanks, and scientists, all with an interest in climate change, the Arctic and other […]

State of the Global Climate 2023 Report

World Meteorological Organization, 20 March 2024 This latest WMO report confirms 2023 was officially the hottest year in recorded history, shattering records of Antarctic sea ice decline, glacier retreat, ocean heat and acidification, sea-level rise, and greenhouse gas levels. Global average near-surface temperature reached 1.45°C above the pre-industrial baseline, increasing today’s ten-year average to 1.20°C. […]

Study Forecasts Warmer and Wetter Arctic This Century

The Cryosphere, 5 March 2024 This major study reveals how Arctic rivers will change over the next eight decades if the climate continues to warm, highlighting how permafrost thaw and a faster water cycle will greatly alter this region’s landscape and ecosystems. Historically, most water going into Arctic rivers flows atop frozen permafrost soils, which […]

COP28 Video of the Week: “What Everyone Should Know About Permafrost Thaw”

During the first week of climate negotiations, Arctic scientists summarized the current state of monitoring, measuring, and accounting for carbon emissions produced by permafrost thaw. Key topics included loss and damage in the Arctic, land degradation and displacement of Arctic communities, and the need for co-produced resilience strategies. Abby Fennelly from the Woodwell Climate Research […]

Disappearing Communities on US Coasts by 2050 Mapped in New Study

Nature, 6 March 2024 This study combined sinking land measurements, sea-level rise projections, and tide charts to provide a comprehensive overview of potential flooding from global ice loss in 32 major U.S. coastal cities. The economic cost of home properties newly exposed to flooding by 2050 could reach $64 billion on the Atlantic, $22 billion […]

Greenland Ice Loss Intensifies European Summer Heat

Weather and Climate Dynamics, 28 February 2024 Europe will become even hotter and drier in coming decades as melting from the Greenland ice sheet speeds up, intensifying weather extremes beyond what climate models predicted from fossil fuel emissions alone. This is the first study to unravel how influxes of meltwater in the North Atlantic would […]

First European Climate Risk Assessment Report

European Environment Agency, 10 March 2024 This policy-oriented report identifies the top 36 “climate risks” facing Europe, warning that many of these have already reached critical levels and could become catastrophic by 2100 without urgent and decisive emissions reductions. Nearly all of these climate risks, from flooding to heatwaves, are driven by the impacts of […]

COP28 Video of the Week: “Early Warning Signs of Sea Level Rise from East Antarctica”

The East Antarctic Ice Sheet is the world’s largest ice mass, storing over 52 meters of sea-level rise. It is often viewed as less vulnerable to global warming than the West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, but recent work has detected worrying signs from East Antarctica and its surrounding oceans, suggesting that we are close […]

Very Low Emissions Could Protect Arctic Summer Sea Ice

Nature Reviews Earth & Environment, 5 March 2024 This review paper provides a clear message: the frequency and length of future sea ice-free periods in the Arctic directly depends on future CO2 emissions. Only the lowest emissions scenario, consistent with 1.5°C offers a possibility of maintaining a perennial sea ice cover. Up to three months […]