Greenland Archives - State of the Planet

A researcher investigates a channel in the Greenland ice

The Greenland Ice Sheet Is Sponging Up Meltwater

As climate warms, the surface of the Greenland ice sheet is melting, and all that meltwater ends up in seasonal rivers that flow to the sea. At least that is what scientists have assumed until now. A new study has shown that some of the meltwater is actually being soaked into porous subsurface ice and held there, at least temporarily.

by |December 8, 2017

Fueled by Melting Glaciers, Algae Bloom Off Greenland

Iron particles catching a ride on glacial meltwater washed out to sea are likely fueling a recently discovered summer algal bloom off the southern coast of Greenland, according to a new study. Microalgae, also known as phytoplankton, are plant-like marine microorganisms that form the base of the food web in many parts of the ocean…. read more

by |July 5, 2017

Could Climate Change Shut Down the Gulf Stream?

In the 2004 disaster movie “The Day After Tomorrow,”, global warming accelerated the melting of polar ice, disrupting circulation in the North Atlantic Ocean and triggering violent changes in the weather. Could climate change shut down the Gulf Stream?

by |June 6, 2017

Researchers Model Differences in East Coast Sea Level Rise

For years, scientists have been warning of a so-called “hot spot” of accelerated sea-level rise along the northeastern U.S. coast. But accurately modeling this acceleration as well as variations in sea-level rise from one region to another has proven challenging. Now new research offers the first comprehensive model for understanding differences in sea level rise along North America’s East Coast.

by |May 18, 2017

Radar Reveals Meltwater’s Year-Round Life Under Greenland Ice

An improved technique developed by a graduate student at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and her colleagues is making it possible to use airborne ice-penetrating radar to reveal meltwater’s life under the ice throughout the year.

by |January 5, 2017
Greenland's ice can "darken" in ways we can see and ways we can't. Photo: Marco Tedesco

State of the Arctic: Longer Melting Seasons, Thinning Sea Ice

The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, and scientists are seeing the effects across ice and ecosystems. Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory’s Marco Tedesco describes the changes underway.

by |December 13, 2016
Meltwater rivers on the greenland ice sheet. M. Tedesco/Columbia University

In Greenland, Exactly Where Meltwater Enters the Ocean Matters

In southern Greenland in summer, rivers have been streaming off the ice sheet, pouring cold fresh water into the fjords. A new study tracks where that meltwater goes—with surprising results.

by |April 25, 2016

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

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
Collecting ice cores in Greenland. Courtesy of William D'Andrea

Greenland Glaciers Retreating Faster than Any Time in Past 9,500 Years

A new study uses sediment cores to track the expansion and retreat of glaciers through time, and finds that they are retreating quickly and are more sensitive to temperature change than previously realized.

by |December 4, 2015