glaciers

The Waggonwaybreen glacier in Svalbard. Photo: Andreas Weith

The Glaciers Are Going

Glaciers around the world have retreated at unprecedented rates and some have disappeared altogether. The melting of glaciers will affect drinking water supplies, water needed to grow food and supply energy, as well as global sea levels.

by |May 5, 2017
Scientists have discovered that seasonally flowing streams fringe much of Antarctica’s ice. Each red ‘X’ represents a separate drainage. Up to now, such features were thought to exist mainly on the far northerly Antarctic Peninsula (upper left). Their widespread presence signals that the ice may be more vulnerable to melting than previously thought. (Adapted from Kingslake et al., Nature 2017)

Water Is Streaming Across Antarctica

In the first such continent-wide survey, scientists have found extensive drainages of meltwater flowing over parts of Antarctica’s ice during the brief summer. Many of the newly mapped drainages are not new, but the fact they exist at all is significant; they appear to proliferate with small upswings in temperature, so warming projected for this century could quickly magnify their influence on sea level.

by |April 19, 2017
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Upcoming Scientific Fieldwork: 2017 and Beyond

On every continent and ocean, Earth Institute field researchers are studying the dynamics of climate, geology, natural hazards, ecology and other subjects with direct applications to the challenges facing humanity.

by |March 6, 2017
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Spy Satellites Reveal the Himalayas’ Changing Glaciers – in 3D

Declassified spy satellite images are beginning to provide the first consistent look at how glaciers across the Himalayas are changing and what future water supplies might look like for millions of people.

by |December 12, 2016
Fossilized leaves hold evidence of a sharp increase in carbon dioxide levels as the Antarctic ice sheet began to shrink 23 million years ago, a new study finds. This magnified image of a fossilized Litsea calicarioides leaf clearly shows the stomata, through which leaves take in CO2 and release oxygen. (Tammo Reichgelt/Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory)

Ancient Leaves Link Loss of Antarctic Ice to a CO2 Spike

Twenty-three million years ago, the Antarctic Ice Sheet began to shrink, going from an expanse larger than today’s to one about half its modern size. Ancient fossilized leaves retrieved from a lake bed in New Zealand now show for the first time that carbon dioxide levels increased dramatically over a relatively short period of time as the ice sheet began to deteriorate.

by |October 12, 2016
Villages like this one in the valleys below Imja Tse in Nepal face a constant risk of glacial lake outburst floods. Photo: jarikir/Flickr

Melting Glaciers Help Spur a Message on Climate

On Oct. 5, several small mountain countries with glaciers—Austria, Bolivia, and Nepal—undertook an important step in advancing global action on climate change. They helped the Paris Climate Agreement reach the threshold to enter into force and become legally binding.

by |October 10, 2016
A side view of the June 28, 2016, Glacier Bay landslide. Photo: Paul Swanstrom/Mountain Flying Service.

Massive Landslide Detected in Glacier Bay’s Fragile Mountains

A 4,000-foot-high mountainside collapsed in Glacier Bay National Park this week in a massive landslide that spread debris for miles across the glacier below. Scientists at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are studying it to improve understanding of landslide risks.

by |July 2, 2016
Research engineer Ted Koczynski explains how rock surfaces representing the rock bed of a glacier put pressure on a block of ice from each side as the ice is pushed downward in the new cryogenic deformation apparatus. Depending on the configuration, sensors throughout the device can measure friction, viscosity and anelasticity. Image: Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

Crushing Ice to Learn About Glaciers & Icy Moons

To understand how quickly ice from glaciers can raise sea level or how moons far across the solar system evolved to hold vast, ice-covered oceans, we need to be able to measure the forces at work. A new instrument designed and built at Lamont does just that.

by |June 6, 2016
The melting toe of the Athabasca Glacier in Canada Photo: Wing-Chi Poon

The Damaging Effects of Black Carbon

Air pollution, both outdoors and indoors, causes millions of premature deaths each year. The deaths are mainly caused by the inhalation of particulate matter, especially black carbon. But black carbon not only has impacts on human health, it also affects visibility, harms ecosystems, reduces agricultural productivity and exacerbates global warming.

by |March 22, 2016
Young_Nicolas LDEO Blatnik Award snip

A Prize-Winner Explains His Work

Nicolás Young studies glaciers and ice sheets, and how they’ve changed in the past. His work earned him the Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists last fall, which came with a $30,000 prize. You can hear him talk about his research in this new video, produced by the Blavatnik Family Foundation.

by |January 28, 2016