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Cooking, cleaning and other routine household activities generate significant levels of volatile and particulate chemicals inside the average home, leading to indoor air quality levels on par with a polluted major city, University of Colorado Boulder researchers say.

Sunday, February 17, 2019
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Global sea-level rise is caused, in part, by more rapid ice discharge from Antarctica, following the removal of the restraining forces of floating ice-shelves after their break-up. A trigger of ice-shelf break-up is thought to be stress variations associated with surface meltwater ponding and drainage, causing flexure and fracture. But until now, there have been no direct measurements of these processes. Here, we present field data from the McMurdo Ice Shelf, Antarctica, showing that the filling, to ~2 m depth, and subsequent draining, by overflow and channel incision, of four surface lakes causes pronounced and immediate ice-shelf flexure over multiple-week timescales. The magnitude of the vertical ice-shelf deflection reaches maxima of ~1 m at the lake centres, declining to zero at distances of <500 m. Our results should be used to guide development of continent-wide ice-sheet models, which currently do not simulate ice-shelf break-up due to meltwater loading and unloading.

Read the entire paper here.

An international team led by the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) is accepting proposals from media and multimedia professionals to report on and contribute to the MOSAiC mission: the Multidisciplinary Drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate. Those selected will spend approximately six weeks this fall aboard the Russian icebreaker Federov, which will support the German Polarstern on the front end of a 12-month Arctic science mission.

Multimedia reporters, producers invited to apply
Tuesday, February 12, 2019 to Friday, March 15, 2019

Banner image is by Stefan Hendricks/Alfred Wegener Institute

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A team of CIRES and NOAA scientists has figured out a shortcut way to produce skillful seasonal climate forecasts with a fraction of the computing power normally needed. The technique involves searching within existing global climate models to learn what happened when the ocean, atmosphere and land conditions were similar to what they are today. These “model-analogs” to today end up producing a remarkably good forecast, the team found—and the finding could help researchers improve new climate models and forecasts of seasonal events such as El Niño.

New study: Existing climate models useful in forecasting, model testing
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
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Year-round observations show gravity waves above Antarctica exhibit seasonal patterns that peak in winter, which could help researchers trac

Gravity waves are enormous vertical oscillations of air that propagate through the atmosphere like ripples in quiet water, and they are perpetually present in the Antarctic atmosphere. Because these waves can create air turbulence and affect weather and climate by transporting energy and momentum between atmospheric layers, researchers have diligently searched for their sources.

Any gravity wave source must be constrained by wave properties observed in the atmospheric layers between 50 and 115 kilometers above Earth’s surface, where persistent gravity waves were first documented, and in the underlying stratosphere, where gravity waves have not yet been rigorously characterized. To help fill this gap, Chu et al. report the results of a detailed statistical analysis of gravity wave characteristics in the stratosphere. Their data, which span from 2011 to 2015, are derived from the first multiyear, year-round measurements of temperature fluctuations made using an iron Boltzmann lidar system at the Arrival Heights observatory near Antarctica’s McMurdo Station.

The results document both the strength and rate of dissipation of waves between altitudes of 30 and 50 kilometers and show striking differences among the four seasons. The data clearly demonstrate that despite significant year-to-year variability, gravity wave dissipation is consistently more severe during the winter. The team also found that wave activity peaks in midwinter, when the station is situated deep within the polar vortex, and declines during the spring, when McMurdo is located near the vortex edge.

This is the first study to document multiyear seasonal patterns in gravity wave activity in the upper Antarctic stratosphere—an important contribution to our understanding of Antarctic gravity waves. The results also serve as an observational benchmark for future research, provide a physical basis for improving the performance of general circulation models, and, ultimately, aid in the search for the sources of persistent gravity waves in Earth’s upper atmosphere. (Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres,, 2018)

—Terri Cook, Freelance Writer

Citation: Cook, T. (2019), Observations show gravity waves above Antarctica dance in winter, Eos, 100, Published on 05 February 2019.
Text © 2019. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
Except where otherwise noted, images are subject to copyright. Any reuse without express permission from the copyright owner is prohibited.

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For the first time, a research team co-led by CIRES-based scientists, has directly observed an Antarctic ice shelf bending under the weight of ponding meltwater on top, a phenomenon that may have triggered the 2002 collapse of the Larsen B ice shelf. And ice shelf flexure could potentially impact other vulnerable ice shelves, causing them to break up, quickening the discharge of ice into the ocean and contributing to global sea level rise.

Researchers record first field measurements of Antarctic ice shelf flexure, which can lead to ice shelf break up
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
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A few years ago, internationally recognized artist Lars Jan installed glass tanks in the middle of New York's Times Square and slowly filled them with water. Live performers inside tried to keep performing everyday activities: tuning a guitar, reading a paper, getting dressed.

The illuminating, climate change short film will project onto the Science On a Sphere® globe, followed by a panel discussion
Friday, February 8, 2019
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Earth’s northern magnetic pole is moving quickly away from the Canadian Arctic toward Siberia. This movement has forced NCEI’s scientists to update the World Magnetic Model (WMM) mid-cycle.

Typically, a new and updated version of the WMM is released every five years. With the last release in 2015, the next version is scheduled for release at the end of 2019. Due to unplanned variations in the Arctic region, scientists have released a new model to more accurately represent the change of the magnetic field between 2015 and now.

Monday, February 4, 2019
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China, already the world’s leading emitter of human-caused greenhouse gases, continues to pump increasing amounts of climate-changing methane into the atmosphere despite tough new regulations on gas releases from its coal mines, a new Johns Hopkins-led study shows.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019
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New study finds southwest Greenland could be major contributor to sea level rise

Greenland is melting faster than scientists previously thought—and will likely lead to faster sea level rise—thanks to the continued, accelerating warming of the Earth’s atmosphere, a new study has found.

Scientists concerned about sea level rise have long focused on Greenland’s southeast and northwest regions, where large glaciers stream iceberg-sized chunks of ice into the Atlantic Ocean. Those chunks float away, eventually melting. But a new study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, co-authored by CIRES Fellow and CU Boulder geologist Mike Willis, found that the largest sustained ice loss from early 2003 to mid-2013 came from Greenland’s southwest region, which is mostly devoid of large glaciers.

“Whatever this was, it couldn’t be explained by glaciers, because there aren’t many there,” said Michael Bevis, lead author of the paper, Ohio Eminent Scholar and a professor of geodynamics at The Ohio State University. “It had to be the surface mass—the ice was melting inland from the coastline.”

That melting, which the researchers believe is largely caused by global warming, means that in the southwestern part of Greenland, growing rivers of water are streaming into the ocean during summer. The key finding from their study: Southwest Greenland, which previously had not been considered a serious threat, will likely become a major future contributor to sea level rise.

The findings could have serious implications for coastal U.S. cities, including New York and Miami, as well as island nations that are particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels.

This story was written by The Ohio State University communications. Continue reading the full story here.