Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

The Cryosphere

The surface temperatures of the Earth are close to the triple point of water, 273.16 K, the temperature at which all 3 states of water coexist as water vapour (gas), liquid water and ice (solid) in thermodynamic equilibrium. Water is the only substance that is found naturally in all 3 phases on Earth. Temperatures are below the triple point of water, for at least part of the year, in about 35 % of the world, including about half of the land mass of the Earth, promoting frozen water at the surface of the Earth. All aspects of this frozen realm are encompassed in the global cryosphere, such as glaciers and ice sheets, sea ice, lake ice and river ice, permafrost, seasonal snow, and ice crystals in the atmosphere.

Temperatures over much of the Earth's surface oscillate about freezing temperature with the result that the cryosphere is especially sensitive to global mean temperature changes. Global climate is also affected directly by the state of the cryosphere because of its tight coupling which represents one of the strongest feedback systems of the Earth. The net radiation from the Sun is the primary governing factor of the Earth's temperatures.  Solar variability is modest on annual to million-year timescales, being less than 1 % of the solar constant, which results in net reflectivity being controlled by global albedo, which is highly influenced by the extent of the area covered by snow and ice on the surface of the Earth, making global albedo the single most dynamic control of net radiation. The climate models by Mikhail Budyko and William Sellers, that are said by the author1 to be simple but illuminating, explored this feedback in the late 1960s, and demonstrated the delicate balance between the cryosphere and the climate of the Earth.

  1. Abyssal Ocean Warming and Salinification Following Weddell Polynyas in GDFL CM2G Coupled Climate Models
  2. Amundsen Sea Ice Shelves – Increased Melting of Ice Shelves in the Amundsen Sea
  3. Amundsen Sea Shelf Break – Oceanographic Observations
  4. Ancestral East Antarctic Ice Sheet - Anatomy of a Meltwater Drainage System Beneath it
  5. Antarctic Bottom Water in the Eastern Weddell Gyre – Remotely Induced Warming
  6. Antarctic Climate Change and Environment - Deep-Time, the Geological Dimension
  7. Antarctic Climate Change and Environment - The Holocene
  8. Antarctic Climate Change and Environment - Changes During the Instrumental Period
  9. Antarctic Climate Change and Environment - Next 100 Years
  10. Antarctic Dry Valleys – Formation of Thermokarst in the McMurdo Dry Valleys
  11. Antarctic Sea Ice
  12. Arctic Sea Ice Incredibly Thin Shocks Researchers
  13. Antarctic Sea Ice Expansion - Important role of Ocean Warming and Increased Ice-Shelf Melt
  14. Arctic Methane Release – Global Impact
  15. Antarctica - Role in Global Environment
  16. Antarctica - East Antarctic Ice Sheet
  17. East Antarctic Ice Sheet - Dynamic Behaviour During the Pliocene Warmth
  18. East Antarctica - Abrupt Climate Warming in the Early Holocene
  19. Antarctica – Changing Icescapes
  20. Antarctica - Glacier Tongues
  21. Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets - Acceleration of their Contribution to Sea Level Rise
  22. Antarctica - Outlet, Valley and Piedmont Glaciers
  23. Antarctica - Ice Sheets - the glacial setting at the present
  24. Antarctica - Ice Shelves
  25. Antarctica - Ice Flow Sensitivity of Pine Island Glacier to Geothermal Heat Flux
  26. Antarctica – The Threat Beneath
  27. Glacier Changes in Asia
  28. Larsen C Ice Shelf, Basal Crevasses – Implications of meltwater ponding and Hydrofracture
  29. Larsen C Ice Shelf – Impact on Basal Melting of Tide-Topography Interactions
  30. Larsen C Ice Shelf – In situ Observations of Ocean Circulation Beneath it
  31. Larsen C Ice Shelf – Marine Ice Formation in a Suture Zone and its Influence on the Dynamics of the Ice Shelf
  32. Larsen C Ice Shelf – the Structure and Effect of Suture Zones  
  33. Antarctica - Pine Island Glacier, subglacial melt channels & Fracture in Floating Part
  34. Antarctica - Pine Island Glacier, West Antarctica, Rapid Subglacial Erosion
  35. Antarctica - Pine Island Glacier, West Antarctica, Sustained Glacier Retreat
  36. Antarctica - Pine Island Bay, West Antarctica – Ice Cavity Water Export
  37. Antarctica - Polygonal Ground in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica – it’s Relationship to Depth of the Ice Table and Recent Climatic History
  38. Antarctica - Sea Ice
  39. Antarctica – Thwaites Glacier Basin, West Antarctica, Marine Ice Sheet Collapse Potentially Underway
  40. Antarctica - The West Antarctic Ice Sheet - WAIS
  41. Antarctic Surface Waters - Abrupt Cooling and Sea Ice Expansion in the Southern Ocean, South Atlantic Sector at 5,000 Cal Yr BP
  42. Atlantic Overturning Circulation and Labrador Sea Convection Affected by Recent Increases in the Influx of Arctic Freshwater
  43. B๘lling Transition – Global climate Changes Near-Synchronous in Ice Core Record
  44. Bottom Water Export from Western Ross Sea, 2007-2010
  45. Brinicles
  46. Centennial Retreat of Glaciers - Categorical Evidence of Climate Change
  47. East Siberian Arctic Shelf Waters Acidification by Freshwater Addition and Terrestrial Carbon
  48. Submarine End Moraines on the Continental Shelf Off NE Greenland - Implications for Late Glacial Dynamics
  49. Climate Feedback
  50. The Cryosphere - Biosphere Interactions
  51. The Cryosphere - The Geography of Snow and Ice on Earth
  52. The Cryosphere - Glaciers & Ice Sheets
  53. The Cryosphere - Albedo of Snow and Ice
  54. The Cryosphere - Effects on the Hydrological Cycle
  55. The Cryosphere - Interaction between Ocean and Ice 
  56. The Cryosphere - Influence on Circulation of the Atmosphere
  57. The Cryosphere - As a Latent Energy Buffer
  58. The Cryosphere - Permafrost
  59. During the Transition from the Last Interglacial to the Last Glacial Air-Sea Decoupling Occurred in Western Europe
  60. Decoupling of Air-Sea Temperature in Western Europe During the Interglacial-Glacial Transition
  61. East Antarctic Ice Shelf – Meltwater Produced by Interaction between wind and albedo stored in the East Antarctic Ice Sheet
  62. Glaciers – Substantial mass Loss in the Tien Shan over the past 50 Years
  63. Global Thermohaline Circulation
  64. Greenland Ice Flow for the international Polar Year 2008-2009
  65. Greenland Ice Sheet – Melting at the Base Explained by the History of Iceland Hotspot
  66. Greenland Ice Sheet – Velocity Structure Changes
  67. Greenland Interstadials and the Younger Dryas-Preboreal Transition: Early-Warning Signals for the Onsets  
  68. Greenland’s Marine Terminating Glaciers – Changes to Understanding the Dynamic Response to Oceanic and Atmospheric Forcing
  69. Greenland Meltwater Emerging Impact on the Formation of Deepwater in the North Atlantic
  70. West Greenland – Undercutting of Marine-Terminating Glaciers
  71. Greenland – Oceanic Transport of Surface Meltwater from the Southern Greenland Ice Sheet
  72. Southwest Labrador Sea off Newfoundland, Oceanographic changes in the Holocene
  73. Jakobshavn Isbrae – Acceleration Triggered by Warm Subsurface Ocean Waters
  74. Marinoan Snowball Earth Glaciation – Ice Sheet Fluctuations that were Orbitally Forced
  75. Methane Emissions Proportional to Carbon from Permafrost Thawed in Arctic Lakes Since the 1950s
  76. Oceanic Convection Chimneys
  77. Oceanic Ice Shelf Melting – the Effect of Basal Channels
  78. Patagonian Icefields, South America, Ice Motion 1984-2014
  79. Permafrost carbon - Catalyst for deglaciation
  80. Pine Island Bay, West Antarctica – Export and Circulation of Cavity Water
  81. Pine Island Glacier Ice Shelf Melt Distributed at Kilometre Scale
  82. Polar Wander Linked to Climate Change
  83. Possible Global Ice Volume Changes and Geomagnetic Excursions and Earth Orbital Eccentricity
  84. A Rossby Wave Bridge Connecting West Antarctica to the Tropical Atlantic Ocean
  85. Rossby Waves Mediate Impacts on West Antarctic Atmospheric Circulation of Tropical Oceans
  86. Southern Ocean Overturn Upper Branch – Water-Mass transformation by Sea Ice
  87. The Southern Ocean has been slowing Global Warming by Absorbing Carbon, But that Could Change
  88. Terrestrial Permafrost – the Threat from Thawing
  89. Tidewater Glaciers – Scalings for Submarine Melting from Buoyant Plume Theory
  90. Totten Ice Shelf – Rapid Basal Melt Driven by Ocean Heat
  91. Totten Glacier, East Antarctica - Ocean Access to a Cavity Beneath it
  92. Totten Glacier – Inland Bed Erosion Indicates Repeated Retreat on a Large Scale
  93. West Antarctic Ice Sheet – Microbial Oxidation as Methane Sink Beneath WAIS
  94. Western Tethys – Glacial Dropstones during the Late Aptian-Early Albian Cold Snap – Palaeoclimate and Palaeogeographic Implications for the Mid-Cretaceous

Sources & Further reading

  1. Marshall, Shawn J., 2012,, The Cryospheree, Princeton University Press..
Author: M. H. Monroe
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