Snow and Avalanches

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  • Antarctic landscape insights keep ice loss forecasts on the radar
    on November 20, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    New maps of a mountainous landscape under a key glacier in West Antarctica will be a valuable aid in forecasting sea level changes. […]

  • Shape of Lake Ontario generates white-out blizzards, study shows
    on November 15, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    A 6-foot-wide snow blower mounted on a tractor makes a lot of sense when you live on the Tug Hill Plateau. Tug Hill, in upstate New York, is one of the snowiest places in the Eastern US and experiences some of the most intense snowstorms in the world. This largely rural region, just east of Lake Ontario, gets an average of 20 feet of snow a year, and a new report explains why. […]

  • Structure and origins of glacial polish on Yosemite's rocks
    on November 15, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    The glaciers that carved Yosemite Valley left highly polished surfaces on many of the region's rock formations. These smooth, shiny surfaces, known as glacial polish, are common in the Sierra Nevada and other glaciated landscapes. Geologists have now taken a close look at the structure and chemistry of glacial polish and found that it consists of a thin coating smeared onto the rock as the glacier moved over it. […]

  • Ice sheets as large as Greenland's melted fast in a warming climate
    on November 10, 2017 at 3:40 am

    New research shows that climate warming reduced the mass of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet by half in as little as 500 years, indicating the Greenland Ice Sheet could have a similar fate. […]

  • How climate change may reshape subalpine wildflower communities
    on November 7, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    An unseasonably warm, dry summer in 2015 on Washington state's Mount Rainier caused subalpine wildflowers to change their bloom times and form 'reassembled' communities, with unknown consequences for species interactions among wildflowers, pollinators and other animals. […]

  • Hot news from the Antarctic underground
    on November 7, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    A new study adds evidence that a geothermal heat source called a mantle plume lies deep below Antarctica's Marie Byrd Land, explaining some of the melting that creates lakes and rivers under the ice sheet. […]

  • Federal climate science report for U.S. released
    on November 6, 2017 at 7:37 pm

    The newly released Climate Science Special Report describes current trends in the climate globally and for the U.S., and projects trends in temperature, precipitation, sea-level rise and Arctic sea ice for the remainder of this century. […]

  • New Greenland maps show more glaciers at risk
    on November 1, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    New maps of Greenland's coastal seafloor and bedrock beneath its massive ice sheet show that two to four times as many coastal glaciers are at risk of accelerated melting as had previously been thought. […]

  • Intensifying winds could increase east Antarctica's contribution to sea level rise
    on November 1, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    Totten Glacier, the largest glacier in East Antarctica, is being melted from below by warm water that reaches the ice when winds over the ocean are strong, according to research. The new findings are a cause for concern because the glacier holds more than 11 feet of sea level rise and acts as a plug that helps lock in the ice of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. […]

  • 'Scars' left by icebergs record West Antarctic ice retreat
    on October 25, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    Thousands of marks on the Antarctic seafloor, caused by icebergs which broke free from glaciers more than ten thousand years ago, show how part of the Antarctic Ice Sheet retreated rapidly at the end of the last ice age as it balanced precariously on sloping ground and became unstable. […]

  • Ice sheets may melt rapidly in response to distant volcanoes
    on October 24, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    Volcanic eruptions have been known to cool the global climate, but they can also exacerbate the melting of ice sheets, according to a new paper. […]

  • Mountain glaciers shrinking across Western U.S.
    on October 20, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    A technique using satellites to create twice-yearly elevation maps of US mountain glaciers provides new insight into thinning of glaciers in the lower 48 states. […]

  • Melting ice makes the sea around Greenland less saline
    on October 13, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    For the first time, ocean data from Northeast Greenland reveals the long-term impact of the melting of the Greenland ice sheet. The observed increase in freshwater content will affect the conditions in all Greenland fjords and may ultimately affect the global ocean currents that keep Europe warm. […]

  • Antarctica: Return of the Weddell polynya supports Kiel climate model
    on September 29, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    Currently, winter has still a firm grip on Antarctica. At this time of the year, the Weddell Sea usually is covered with a thick layer of sea ice. In spite of the icy temperatures in the region, satellite images depict a large ice-free area in the middle of the ice cover. […]

  • New iceberg calved from Pine Island Glacier
    on September 27, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    A new iceberg calved from Pine Island Glacier -- one of the main outlets where ice from the interior of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet flows into the ocean. […]

  • Antarctica: The wind sublimates snowflakes
    on September 25, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    A team of researchers has collected new data that shows a significant decrease in snow precipitation close to the ground in Antarctica, which has an impact on the ice sheet surface mass balance. […]

  • Winter cold extremes linked to high-altitude polar vortex weakening
    on September 22, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    When the strong winds that circle the Arctic slacken, cold polar air can escape and cause extreme winter chills in parts of the Northern hemisphere. A new study finds that these weak states have become more persistent over the past four decades and can be linked to cold winters in Russia and Europe. […]

  • Atmospheric effects of Arctic snowmelt
    on September 20, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    Researchers are exploring the changing chemistry of the Arctic's atmosphere to help answer the question of what happens as snow and ice begin to melt. […]

  • End-of-summer Arctic sea ice extent is eighth lowest on record
    on September 19, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    Arctic sea ice appeared to have reached its yearly lowest extent on Sept. 13, scientists have reported. Analysis of satellite data showed that at 1.79 million square miles (4.64 million square kilometers), this year's Arctic sea ice minimum extent is the eighth lowest in the consistent long-term satellite record, which began in 1978. […]

  • Wax on, melt off: Adding phase change materials, like paraffin, to concrete could make roads that...
    on September 13, 2017 at 11:31 pm

    Researchers have made a discovery that could create roads that melt off ice and snow during winter storms. Their secret? Adding a little paraffin wax to the road's concrete mix. […]

  • Ancient tree reveals cause of spike in Arctic temperature
    on September 12, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    A kauri tree trapped in a New Zealand swamp for 30,000 years may have overturned the idea that a slowdown in ocean currents in the North Atlantic may be entirely responsible for Dansgaard-Oeschger events and the characteristic bi-polar see-saw, which sees the Antarctica cool while the Arctic warms during glacial periods. The research reveals a mechanism that generates a 20,000 km long atmospheric bridge, reaching from Antarctica to the Arctic. […]

  • Urban climate change
    on September 11, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    Southern cities such as Houston and Tampa -- which faced the wrath of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, respectively -- may not be the only urban environments vulnerable to extreme weather. Northern cities also face the potential for flooding as global temperatures continue to warm. […]

  • Cold region 'tipping point' now inevitable
    on September 11, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    The decline of cold regions called periglacial zones is now inevitable due to climate change, researchers say. […]

  • NASA flights map summer melt of Greenland ice sheet
    on September 9, 2017 at 12:54 am

    Operation IceBridge is flying in Greenland to measure how much ice has melted over the course of the summer from the ice sheet. The flights, which began on Aug. 25 and will go on until Sept. 21, repeat paths flown this spring and aim to monitor seasonal changes in the elevation of the ice sheet. […]

  • Direct evidence of sea level 'fingerprints' discovered
    on September 7, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    The first observation of sea level 'fingerprints' -- tell-tale differences in sea level rise around the world in response to changes in continental water and ice sheet mass -- has been reported by researchers. […]

  • Unraveling a major cause of sea ice retreat in the Arctic Ocean
    on September 6, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    Quantitative analysis has evidenced the acceleration system of melting ice: dark water surfaces absorb more heat than white ice surfaces, thus melting ice and making more water surfaces in the Arctic Ocean. […]

  • Massive Antarctic volcanic eruptions linked to abrupt Southern hemisphere climate changes
    on September 4, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    New findings document a 192-year series of volcanic eruptions in Antarctica that coincided with accelerated deglaciation about 17,700 years ago. […]

  • Experts call for added focus on the impact of glacier mass loss on downstream systems
    on September 4, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    Researchers have warned of an 'urgent worldwide need' to address a broad spectrum of cascading impacts of glacier mass loss on downstream systems. […]

  • Record-low 2016 Antarctic sea ice due to 'perfect storm' of tropical, polar conditions
    on August 31, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    The sudden, unexpected nosedive in Antarctic sea ice last year was due to a unique one-two punch from atmospheric conditions both in the tropical Pacific Ocean and around the South Pole. […]

  • Human-made fossil methane emission levels larger than previously believed
    on August 24, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    A team of researchers spent seven weeks in Antarctica collecting and studying 2,000-pound samples of glacial ice cores that date back nearly 12,000 years. The ancient air trapped within the ice revealed surprising new data about methane that may help inform today's policymakers as they consider ways to reduce global warming. […]