ice sheets Archives - State of the Planet

iceberg

Glaciers, Ice Sheets, and More: A Primer on the Different Types of Polar Ice

Plus: Why they matter for climate change.

by |February 5, 2018

Ice Sheets May Melt Rapidly in Response to Distant Volcanoes

A study of ancient eruptions shows modern ice sheets could be vulnerable.

by |October 24, 2017

East Antarctic Ice Sheet Should Remain Stable Even if the West Melts

A new look inside the ice sheet validates predictions that it probably won’t melt as quickly as its neighbor—good news, since East Antarctica contains enough water to raise sea levels by 200 feet.

by |August 18, 2017
ross ice shelf

Antarctic Ice-Mapping Project Will Fly for the Last Time in October

With its mission complete, the Rosetta-Ice Project will give scientists an unprecedented look at the Ross Ice Shelf and how it’s changing with the climate.

by |August 18, 2017

Christine McCarthy: A Cheerleader for the Physics of Ice

Christine McCarthy, a geophysicist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, scrunches blocks of ice between hunks of rock to study how ice behaves under pressure. Her work provides an important piece of the puzzle of how glaciers move, what makes them speed up, and how they are contributing to sea level rise as the climate warms.

by |June 26, 2017

Meltwater Lakes Existed Under Antarctic Ice in Ancient Times

In recent years, scientists have discovered hundreds of lakes lying hidden deep beneath the Antarctic ice sheet. Now a team of researchers has found the remains of at least one sub-ice lake that existed when the ice was far more extensive, in sediments on the Antarctic continental shelf.

by |June 1, 2017

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

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

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

Exploring Beneath Earth’s Changing Ice Sheets

If just the West Antarctic Ice Sheet were to melt, it would raise global sea level by 6 meters. That’s more than a theoretical problem. West Antarctica is losing ice mass, and scientists are worried.

by |November 24, 2015