Lesson: Arctic Sea Ice Decline

Jennifer Francis, Rutgers University – assesses the broad topic of the Arctic Sea Ice Decline and explains seasonal impacts. Observations, especially since the 1950’s, explain how the “Arctic Amplification” leads to rapid sea ice changes during the summer month. Much more ridging in North America during the winter. And this affects weather patterns, because a…

Catastrophic sea levels ‘distinct possibility’ this century

A breakthrough study of fluctuations in sea levels the last time Earth was between ice ages, as it is now, shows that oceans rose some three meters in only decades due to collapsing ice sheets. The findings suggest that such an scenario — which would redraw coastlines worldwide and unleash colossal human misery — is…

First evidence of under-ice volcanic eruption in Antarctica

The first evidence of a volcanic eruption from beneath Antarctica’s most rapidly changing ice sheet. The volcano on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet erupted 2000 years ago (325BC) and remains active. Using airborne ice-sounding radar, scientists from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) discovered a layer of ash produced by a ‘subglacial’ volcano. It extends across an…

Potential methane reservoirs beneath Antarctica

We calculate that the sub-Antarctic hydrate inventory could be of the same order of magnitude as that of recent estimates made for Arctic permafrost. Once thought to be devoid of life, the ice-covered parts of Antarctica are now known to be a reservoir of metabolically active microbial cells and organic carbon. The potential for methanogenic…

Central West Antarctica among the most rapidly warming regions on Earth

There is clear evidence that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is contributing to sea-level rise. In contrast, West Antarctic temperature changes in recent decades remain uncertain. West Antarctica has probably warmed since the 1950s, but there is disagreement regarding the magnitude, seasonality and spatial extent of this warming. This is primarily because long-term near-surface temperature…

West Antarctic rapid glacier retreat may be exceptional during the Holocene

Ice loss from the marine-based, potentially unstable West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) contributes to current sea-level rise and may raise sea level by ≤3.3 m or even ≤5 m in the future. Over the past few decades, glaciers draining the WAIS into the Amundsen Sea Embayment (ASE) have shown accelerated ice flow, rapid thinning, and…

Hidden rift valley discovered beneath West Antarctica reveals new insight into ice loss

EurekAlert British Antarctic Survey Jul 25 2012: Scientists have discovered a one mile deep rift valley hidden beneath the ice in West Antarctica, which they believe is contributing to ice loss from this part of the continent. Experts from the University of Aberdeen and British Antarctic Survey (BAS) made the discovery below Ferrigno Ice Stream,…

The N Hemisphere’s Atmospheric Circulation Has Collapsed Creating a Persistent Polar Cyclone

By FishOutOfWater / DailyKos: 500mb heights Normal for May 21 to June 6; 1980-2010 Average 500mb heights for May 21 to June 6 2013 A sudden stratospheric warming split the polar vortex in two in mid-January. Since then, the northern hemisphere’s atmospheric circulation has been behaving very strangely. An area of extreme high pressure formed…

In Ancient Ice, Clues That Scientists Are Underestimating Future Sea Levels

By John Mahoney / Popsci: The skies do strange things at the NEEM camp, a remote ice-drilling and research facility on the northern Greenland ice sheet. Midnight sunshine. Low clouds of sparkling ice crystals known as “diamond dust.” But when rain fell instead of snow last summer, complete with a rainbow arcing over the camp,…

Video: Lake El’gygytgyn, Pleistocene super-Interglacials and Arctic warmth

John Mason / Skeptical Science: Here is a must-see 2012 presentation by Julie Brigham-Grette of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, covering the research her team has been doing into Lake El’gygytgyn (pronouned El-Guh-Git-Kin), a water-filled meteor crater in Arctic Russia that came into being after the impact of a ~1km diameter space-rock, 3.6 million years ago.…