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Glaciers

This category contains 24 posts

The Bellagio of the natural world: glacial fountains

Glaciers are sentinels of global change, yet there is still much to be learned about how glaciers melt, and in turn, how melting glaciers interact with the surrounding water. Read on to find out how scientists are working to understand how glacial meltwater forms fountains that change the surrounding water. Katherine BarrettKate received her Ph.D. […]

Antarctic Sea Ice – What do Adélie Penguins have to do with it?

In light of global climate change and warming ocean waters, is there any good news? Turns out some Antarctic penguins will benefit in the short term with less sea-ice cover. Samantha SettaI’m a PhD student in the Rynearson Lab at the University of Rhode Island (URI) Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO). My research interests are […]

Deep Breathing Underwater

The Labrador Sea is one of the lungs of the ocean. A new study finds that it is taking an even deeper breath than expected—making it more vulnerable to climate change than thought. Emily ChuaI am a Ph.D. candidate at Boston University where I am developing an underwater instrument to study the coastal ocean.  I […]

Icebergs Fertilize Phytoplankton Growth

Icebergs contain iron, the limiting nutrient for phytoplankton in the polar regions. Icebergs, therefore, have the potential to stimulate biological productivity and carbon uptake. However, this will depend on the iceberg iron content, which is not well known. Therefore, a recent study sought to quantify the variability in iceberg iron content and subsequent carbon uptake. […]

Iceberg Impacts

Accurately predicting ice sheet melt location and timing is crucial to understanding and modeling global climate. In order to do this, it is necessary to assess individual freshwater sources as the researchers in this study did. Their results suggest that many of the assumptions ocean modelers make about icebergs may be incorrect. Channing PrendI’m a […]

Bergy Bits Are a Bit Burdensome

Icebergs and ‘bergy bits’ have been long studied as carriers of freshwater into the global ocean climate system on global, regional, and local scales. But in previous models, some potentially major factors have been overlooked. There may be more going on under the surface than researchers once suspected. Zoe GentesZoe has an M.S. in Oceanography […]

Connecting production to glacial meltwater

As sea-ice disappears, many scientists predict that primary production will increase in high latitude regions. A Danish group adds some nuance to this prediction based on a recent study off the coast of Greenland. Eric OrensteinEric is a PhD student at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. His research in the Jaffe Laboratory for Underwater Imaging […]

Glaciers have big league role in silica budget.

Glaciers get a lot of attention because they’re expansive sheets of ice. They’re important to understand because they can impact sea level, circulation, climate, albedo, and they are homes to microbial organisms and large animals. A new reason they are getting attention is their recently realized importance to the global silica budget. Researchers found that […]

Melting ice shelves could be slowing down ocean circulation: Elephant seals lend a flipper to find out

Wanted: Antarctic researchers to study the formation of deep water in the coastal Antarctic seas. Job requirements: Plenty of blubber and a healthy appetite for bottom-dwelling sea creatures. Nicole CoutoI’m interested in how physical processes occurring in different parts of the ocean affect local ecosystems and climate. For my PhD research at Rutgers University (New […]

Watermelon snow – Colorful algae speed up the melting of glaciers

Red snow algae can form massive blooms on ice sheets every summer as the snow starts to melt. But their pigments don’t just have a colorful effect – they also cause the ice sheet to melt faster. Nicole CoutoI’m interested in how physical processes occurring in different parts of the ocean affect local ecosystems and […]

Greenland ice melt may impact Atlantic Ocean temperature and climate

Paper: Claus W. Böning, et al. 2016.  Emerging impact of Greenland meltwater on deepwater formation in the North Atlantic Ocean. Nature Geoscience, v.9: 523–527. We know the ocean is warming due to climate change. But did you also know there are huge paths that heat and energy takes through the global ocean? Although the ocean […]

Not all freshwater is created equal

Glacial runoff, precipitation, and sea ice melt all contribute to the freshwater content of the upper ocean along the west Antarctic Peninsula. Using oxygen isotope samples from water found in different areas of the continental shelf, researchers were able map the areas where different sources of freshwater are more important. Nicole CoutoI’m interested in how […]

Antarctic ice dams at risk

Source: Fürst et al. (2016), The Safety band of Antarctic ice shelves. Nature Climate Change The shrinking Antarctic As our planet warms, the melting of glaciers and polar ice caps is causing sea level rise, threatening the future of coastal cities and low lying areas around the world. This melting includes Antarctica’s ice shelves, which add […]

Hope Floats: how icebergs are fighting climate change

An iceberg couldn’t help Leo win an Oscar, but new research highlights how icebergs may help battle climate change. Read on to find out how! Gordon OberPostdoctoral Researcher, Claremont McKenna College I am currently a postdoc at Keck Sciences, Claremont McKenna College. I work with Dr. Sarah Gilman, measuring and modeling energy budgets in intertidal […]

Mountains vs. Climate, Recorded in Marine Sediment

Mountain ranges can actively evolve with Earth’s climate. A new study of the St. Elias Range in coastal Alaska demonstrates how dynamic and coupled our planet’s crust is to climate, and how we can investigate past erosion through marine sediments. Zoe GentesZoe has an M.S. in Oceanography and a B.S. in Geologic Oceanography from URI, […]

Global Consequences of Melting the Pine Island Glacier

Melting Antarctic glaciers have major consequences on global climate. In this study, climate simulations reveal a seesaw like behavior where cooling near the south pole means warming near the north pole. Brian CaccioppoliI am a recent graduate (Dec. 2015) from the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography, with a M.S. in Oceanography. My […]

It’s a virus’ world: Glaciers host unique viral communities

Scientists have only recently started studying the wealth of biological diversity that is found on top of glaciers. Cryoconite holes hold microscopic communities of algae, bacteria, and viruses. These studies are revealing an increasingly complex web of interactions between community members, driving the evolution of many unique adaptations to survive in such stiff competition. Irvin […]

Feeling the heat: how do plankton respond to glacial melting?

The current, and sometimes rapid melting of glaciers and ice sheets is a direct consequence of climate change. Glacial melting on land can leave behind newly formed ice-contact lakes, which are prevalent around the world. These lakes contain high levels of mineral particles, as well as previously trapped inorganic and organic nutrients carried by glacial […]

Fizzing glaciers are louder than you’d expect

While anthropogenic noise pollution has been gaining a lot of attention, there is still much to be learned about ambient ocean noise. A team of researchers found that glaciers create some of the loudest noises in the ocean, with evolutionary implications for marine organisms living near glaciers. These findings elucidate the nature of ambient, natural […]

Rotten Totten: Why is East Antarctica melting so quickly?

Like the West Antarctica Ice Sheet, East Antarctica is home to glaciers thinning at an alarming rate. The east’s Totten Glacier stores enough water to raise global sea level by 11 feet, similar to projected amounts in West Antarctica. Researchers conducted a study to find out what is causing Totten to melt so quickly. The […]

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