Sea ice and ice shelves
What is sea ice? Sea ice is frozen sea water; it perennially expands and contracts during each year’s winter and summer. Amongst the sea ice are icebergs calved from tidewater glaciers and ice shelves. Melting sea ice does not contribute directly to sea level rise (ice floats and displaces the same volume of water), but sea ice is important because it enhances climate warming. It changes the reflectivity of the sea water, reflecting lots of sunlight back (it has a high albedo), and is therefore an important component of the climate and cryospheric (icey) system.
A new paper in Nature Climate Change by Bamber and Aspinall attempts to untangle the thorny problem of how quickly and how much the ice sheets of the world will melt. The rate at which ice sheets melt is difficult to understand, because there are many processes that occur. Continue reading
How much ice is there in Antarctica? And if it were to melt, how much would global sea levels rise, and how quickly? Continue reading
A paper in this weeks’ Nature by Mulvaney et al. 2012 suggested that the climate around the Antarctic Peninsula has varied extensively over the Holocene. This data is derived from a 363.9 m ice core from the Mount Haddington Ice Cap on James Ross Island. Continue reading