Climate Change

These posts discuss various aspects of Climate Change and how it impacts glaciers and ice sheets

What does COP26 mean for global glacier and ice sheet change?

Earth’s glaciers are shrinking at an alarming rate. Each year they are losing more mass than is being replenished in each accumulation season.28 trillion tonnes of ice was lost from 1994 to 2017, and rates have risen by 57% since the 1990s. At present, global ice volume is shrinking at a rate of 267±16 Gt/year, … Read more

The world’s mountain ‘water towers’ are melting, putting 1.9 billion people at risk

Bethan Davies, Royal Holloway The year 2019 concludes a decade of exceptional heat, and is on track to be the second or third warmest year on record. While the global average temperature teeters on 1.1°C above the pre-industrial record, the world’s glaciers are in stark retreat. In high mountain areas, the steady trickle of melting … Read more

Choosing the future of Antarctica

In a new article in the journal Nature, Stephen Rintoul and colleagues present two very different visions of Antarctica’s future, from the perspective of an observer looking back from 2070. In one vision, humanity continues to exploit Earth’s natural resources (such as fossils fuels) and does little to protect the environment, and in the other, … Read more

The Larsen C Ice Shelf growing rift

Antarctic Peninsula ice shelves | Ice shelf collapse on the Antarctic Peninsula | Rifting on Larsen C | Impact of calving the large iceberg | Sea level rise following ice-shelf collapse | References | Comments | Antarctic Peninsula ice shelves The Antarctic Peninsula is fringed by floating ice shelves. They are floating extensions of the … Read more

The Global Last Glacial Maximum

Around 27,000 years ago, ice sheets reached their maximum across the world, after a period of global cooling caused by variations in the Earth’s orbit around the sun. There was a massive ice sheet in North America (the Laurentide Ice Sheet)[1, 2], a large Eurasian Ice Sheet covering Britain, Ireland and Scandinavia as well as … Read more

Antarctic Sea Ice

Guest post by Dr Jonathan Day, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading What is going on with the Antarctic sea ice? March 2017 was an interesting month for sea ice. Both northern and southern hemispheres experienced record breaking low extents for the time of year. The extent of Arctic sea ice reached the maximum area … Read more

Will we enter another ice age?

There are a number of web and news articles around surrounding the question of whether or not we will enter another ice age. Many of these questions arise from the idea that a collapse or significant melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet will produce enough fresh water to shut down the global thermohaline circulation, dropping … Read more

Antarctic Peninsula has strong sensitivity to surface warming

The Antarctic Peninsula is warming very rapidly, about six times the global average[1-3]. There has been a 95% increase in positive degree day sums since 1948[4]. Glaciers in the region are accelerating, in response to frontal thinning and recession[5]. In addition, ice shelves are collapsing[6], glacier fronts are retreating[7]. The causes for much of these … Read more

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