Abrupt Climate Change In The Arctic (And Beyond) An Update

AGU Fall Meeting 2013: Our understanding of future Arctic change is informed by the history of past changes, which often have been both large and abrupt. The well-known ice-age events such as the Younger Dryas show how sea-ice changes can amplify forcing to produce very large responses, with wintertime sea ice especially important. These changes…

Sea level rise: New iceberg theory points to areas at risk of rapid disintegration

Video published on YouTube Nov 21, 2012 | Article published on July 22, 2013 by Nicole Casal Moore / University of Michigan ANN ARBOR—In events that could exacerbate sea level rise over the coming decades, stretches of ice on the coasts of Antarctica and Greenland are at risk of rapidly cracking apart and falling into…

Remote Antarctic Trek Reveals A Glacier Melting From Below

September 15, 2013 by Richard Harris from NPR – Scientists watching Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier from space have noticed with some alarm that it has been surging toward the sea. If it were to melt entirely, global sea levels would rise by several feet. Source NPR (with transcript) Related New Antarctic ice core reveals secrets…

NASA Operation IceBridge: Stunning Aircraft Travel – Documenting Antarctic and Greenland Change

Published on YouTube Aug 16, 2013: The views from the cockpit of NASA’s P-3B aircraft on an Operation IceBridge campaign are truly stunning. The mission doesn’t travel to both ends of the Earth for the scenery of course — the airborne mission is there to collect radar, laser altimetry, and other data on the changing…

A new inventory of mountain glaciers and ice caps for the Antarctic periphery

Andrew Bliss, Regine Hock, J. Graham Cogley | Source Abstract Although the glaciers in the Antarctic periphery make up a large fraction of all mountain glaciers and ice caps on Earth, a detailed glacier inventory of the region is lacking. We compile such an inventory, recording areas, area–altitude distributions, terminus characteristics and volume estimates.Glaciers on…

Subglacial Lakes

By Bethan Davies / AntarcticGlaciers.org Introduction | Radio echo sounding | Satellite altimetry: elevation changes | Effects of active lakes on ice dynamics | Drilling projects | References Introduction The Antarctic continent is underlain by subglacial lakes. Despite the fact that they are overlain by several kilometres of ice, these lakes are interconnected and water…

Under the Ice: A closer look at recent Antarctica and Greenland Ice Melt

Source: Polar science news in brief “Environ Earth Sci (2013) 68:1813–1821 DOI 10.1007/s12665-012-2185-y by David Carlson Summary Antarctica Satellite radar altimetry since 2002 shows accelerated thinning (Amundsen Sea, Pine Island and Thwaites glacial ice streams) Laser altimetry shows thinning on 20 of 54 Antarctic ice shelves Ice shelves buttress their tributary glaciers, melt-induced thinning of…

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…