polar regions

scientists from the research ship polarstern working among snowdrifts on the polar ice

How anchoring a ship to an ice floe will help fight climate change

In September, the giant German polar research vessel Polarstern will set off from Tromsø in Norway on a remarkable voyage. It will sail across the Arctic Ocean and after a few weeks reach a point off the Siberian coast, around 85 deg N 120 deg E, where it will attach itself to the biggest, strongest-looking ice floe its crew can find.

the rhône glacier was the largest in the european alps during the most recent ice age

Two-thirds of glacier ice in the Alps ‘will melt by 2100’

Half of the ice in the mountain chain’s 4,000 glaciers will be gone by 2050 due to global warming already baked in by past emissions, the research shows. After that, even if carbon emissions have plummeted to zero, two-thirds of the ice will still have melted by 2100.

retrogressive thaw slump, herschel island, yukon, canada

Guest post: Arctic warming is causing a 60-fold increase in permafrost landslides

One of the principal concerns of a warming Arctic is the thawing of carbon-rich permafrost, which could release CO2 and methane into the atmosphere and accelerate climate change. However, the thawing of these perennially frozen soils also risks making a mark on the land surface itself, causing landslides known as “retrogressive thaw slumps”.

leaves of the extinct southern beech found at oliver bluffs

Last time CO2 levels were this high, there were trees at the South Pole

Trees growing near the South Pole, sea levels 20 metres higher than now, and global temperatures 3°C-4°C warmer. That is the world scientists are uncovering as they look back in time to when the planet last had as much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as it does today.

polar bears in arctic russia are losing their sea-ice habitat

What polar bears in a Russian apartment block reveal about the climate crisis

Arctic bears are being driven off their normal migration routes and into human habitation. We should feel pity – and fear — Polar bears prowling around a children’s playground. Polar bears lumbering along the corridors of apartment blocks and offices. Polar bears descending on a sleepy Russian town in their dozens. To state the obvious: …

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as more heat and water get under the glacier, it melts faster

Cavity two-thirds the size of Manhattan discovered under Antarctic glacier

Disintegration of rapidly melting Thwaites ice mass could threaten coastal communities worldwide — Scientists have discovered a giant cavity at the bottom of a disintegrating glacier in Antarctica, sparking concerns that the ice sheet is melting more rapidly than expected. Researchers working as part of a Nasa-led study found the cavern, which they said was …

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a composite image of data from esa sentinel

Guest post: Is ‘glacier carbon’ good or bad for the climate?

Dr Arwyn Edwards is a senior lecturer in biology from the University of Aberystwyth and Dr Joe Cook is a postdoctoral researcher in glaciology from the University of Sheffield — Our warming planet is losing its glaciers and ice sheets. Water from melting glaciers trickles into the sea while faster-flowing glaciers are delivering more icebergs, …

Guest post: Is ‘glacier carbon’ good or bad for the climate? Read More »

the arctic report card outlines vast changes taking place in the arctic region

Arctic Undergoing Most Unprecedented Transition in Human History

The Arctic Report Card, released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, outlines vast changes taking place in the Arctic region. Here are some major findings — The Arctic continues to undergo dramatic change due to atmospheric and ocean warming, and the region “is no longer returning to the extensively frozen region of recent past …

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