Articles on Ice sheets

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The northeast edge of the Venable Ice Shelf, near Antarctica’s Allison Peninsula. NASA/John Sonntag

Short-term changes in Antarctica’s ice shelves are key to predicting their long-term fate

Last summer one of Antarctica's floating ice shelves calved an iceberg the size of Delaware – but scientists say other less dramatic changes reveal more about how and why Antarctica is changing.
Scientists on Arctic sea ice in the Chukchi Sea, surrounded by melt ponds, July 4, 2010. NASA/Kathryn Hansen

Melting Arctic sends a message: Climate change is here in a big way

Climate change is transforming the Arctic, with impacts on the rest of the planet. A geographer explains why he once doubted that human actions were causing such shifts, and what changed his mind.
Melting Antarctic ice can trigger effects on the other side of the globe. NASA/Jane Peterson

How Antarctic ice melt can be a tipping point for the whole planet’s climate

The climate secrets contained in an ancient tree that lived through abrupt global change reveal how Antarctica can trigger rapid warming in the north by dumping cold water into the Southern Ocean.
Water mass enters the ocean from glaciers such as this along the Greenland coast. NASA/JPL-Caltech

Contributions to sea-level rise have increased by half since 1993, largely because of Greenland’s ice

Greenland's ice is largely responsible for the accelerating pace of sea-level rise. A new analysis shows that, while Greenland accounted for just 5% of the rise in 1993, that figure rose to 25% by 2014.
The crew of scientists prepare to put the drill stem into the Greenland ice sheet to probe water flows about a half of a mile below. Joel Harper

Scientist at work: Tracking melt water under the Greenland ice sheet

A glaciologist develops a lightweight method for probing the depths of Greenland's ice sheet to answer a crucial question: How fast is it melting?
Glaciers have been a major contributor to sea-level rise. Knut Christianson

What does the science really say about sea-level rise?

Could sea levels really rise by several metres this century. Probably not, although this century's greenhouse emissions could potentially set the stage for large rises in centuries to come.
Where the ice meets the sea: Antarctica’s ice shelves play a key role in how fast ice sheets melt. Antarctica image from www.shutterstock.com

Tipping point: how we predict when Antarctica’s melting ice sheets will flood the seas

As the world warms, Antarctica's melting ice will likely reach the point of no return.
A portion of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, called Wilkes Land, flowing into the ocean. Michael Hambrey/Glaciers online net

How ice sheets collapse: a lesson from the past

The way ice sheets respond to global warming may be more predictable than previously thought

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