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Image: MIDAS Project

One of Largest Icebergs Ever Breaks off Antarctica

One of the largest icebergs ever – roughly the size of Delaware – just broke off of Antarctica, according to scientists who have been observing the area for years. While it’s not unusual for ice shelves to calve, many in the climate community fear that the breaking of Larsen C may be a signal of other events to come.

by |July 12, 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
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
Antarctica from below. A Nature Review article highlights novel biodiversity found below the surface of the ice. Photo: NASA

The Otherworldly and Elusive Life Beneath Antarctica’s Ice

While renowned for the penguins, Antarctica is perhaps equally well known for what it doesn’t have: basically, anything else. But scientist Steven Chown says the view that the icy continent lacks life is “simply not true.”

by |June 29, 2015
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Glacial Earthquakes May Help Forecast Sea-Level Rise

Glacial earthquakes are produced as massive ice chunks fall off the fronts of advancing glaciers into the ocean. A new study of the quakes’ mechanics may give scientists a way to measure ice loss remotely and refine predictions of sea-level rise.

by |June 25, 2015
Andy Juhl lowers ROV Brinson into the Arctic Ocean.

Science, Creativity and Isopods

It’s near midnight and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory researchers Andy Juhl and Craig Aumack, and Arizona State’s Kyle Kinzler are gathered around a table in their lab at the Barrow Arctic Research Consortium discussing the best way to catch an isopod.

by |May 27, 2013
Svalbard is an archipelago in the Arctic, constituting the northernmost part of Norway. The archipelago features an Arctic climate, although with significantly higher temperatures than other areas at the same latitude. Sixty percent of the archipelago is glacier, and the islands feature many mountains and fjords - Photo by Woodwalker.

Arctic Archipelago: Ground Zero For Climate Change

Summer temperatures on the archipelago of Svalbard, 400 miles north of Norway, are now higher than at any other period in the last 1,800 years, according to a new study in the journal Geology.

by |November 8, 2012