Archive by category | Cryosphere

Wilkins ice shelf collapse continues

Wilkins ice shelf collapse continues

Cross-posted from The Great Beyond Following the collapse on April 4 of a narrow ice bridge that had connected the Wilkins ice shelf with a small island off the Antarctic Peninsula, the northern ice front of the ice sheet is beginning to disintegrate. A high-resolution radar image taken on April 20 by the German TerraSAR-X satellite shows large icebergs being released from a rift zone near Latady Island. Scientists expect up to 3,400 square kilometretres of the Wilkins Ice Sheet to break into icebergs before a new stable ice front will form. Quirin Schiermeier  … Read more

Wilkins Ice Shelf lost its footing

Wilkins Ice Shelf lost its footing

The narrow strip of ice which connected the Wilkins ice shelf with a small island off the southwestern Antarctic Peninsula has finally collapsed, threatening to speed up the disintegration of the 11,000 square kilometres-large shelf.  Read more

Reconciling sea ice models with reality

Reconciling sea ice models with reality

The Arctic has been losing summer sea ice fast. At the end of the melt season in September 2008 the ice extent was barely above its record low of 2007, even after a much cooler summer. Most climate models did not anticipate the pace of this ice disappearance and still can’t replicate it. And as shown in the figure above, the futures projected by models are all over the map.  Read more

A sleeping giant?

A sleeping giant?

One noteworthy observation at December’s AGU conference – the latest and largest ever gathering of earth and space scientists – was the attention being given to a threat conceivably worse than carbon dioxide. In numerous talks, during poster sessions and over coffee, scientists were discussing methane – a greenhouse gas with a warming potential 25 times that of CO2.  Read more

New Arctic feedback: vicious peat circles

New Arctic feedback: vicious peat circles

Researchers have discovered new hot spots for emissions of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide: barren patches of peat dotted across northern tundra. And warming in the Arctic – just as it threatens to multiply emissions of carbon dioxide and methane from thawing permafrost and drying bogs – could accelerate the output of this lesser-known climate change culprit, according to a study in Nature Geoscience this week (subscription).  Read more

US stakes claims in melting Arctic

US stakes claims in melting Arctic

Monday was George W. Bush’s last press conference as president, and the administration seized the day to release new security directives on US interests in the Arctic – where disappearing sea ice has the five bordering countries on edge about who will get their hands on assets set to be freed up.  Read more