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Posts Tagged "glaciers"

The Artful Amoeba

How the Mosses That Got Run Over By a Glacier Survived Their Ordeal

moss_regrowth_pnas_la_farge_et_al_200

A few months ago, scientists revealed that some plucky mosses in Canada managed to do something long thought impossible: survive a 400-year close encounter with the business end of a glacier, and live to sprout another day. The conventional wisdom on glaciers was that they were Earth-scraping, life-razing forces of geology. Nothing could survive their [...]

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Culturing Science

Glacial Poetry: Photos Don’t Do Them Justice

A photo doesn't really do a glacier justice. Photo by Tolka Rover CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

I have never seen a glacier (or any sea ice for that matter) in real life, though I’ve seen them in countless photos. I’m spellbound by James Balog’s Extreme Ice Survey, at the shapes and scale of ice in the Arctic. I express the perfect mixture of dismay and wonder at “then and now” photos [...]

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Expeditions

Climbing Mount Everest: My Search for Dirty Snow

Editor’s note: This April, geologist and Ph.D. candidate Ulyana Horodyskyj will be climbing Mount Everest to determine how much soot is settling on snow at the top of mammoth glaciers, which could slow their growth at the top, even as they melt at much lower elevations. She will post updates to this blog as she [...]

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Expeditions

A picture is worth a thousand words

Editor’s note: Marine geophysicist Robin Bell is leading an expedition to Antarctica to explore a mysterious mountain range beneath the ice sheet. Following is the sixteenth of her updates on the effort as part of ScientificAmerican.com‘s In-Depth Report on the "Future of the Poles." AGAP SOUTH CAMP, ANTARCTICA—Since we first conceived this project, we have [...]

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Guest Blog

The discovery of the ruins of ice: The birth of glacier research

"It has already been said, that no small part of the present work refers to the nature and phenomena of glaciers. It may be well, therefore, before proceeding to details, to explain a little the state of our present knowledge respecting these great ice-masses, which are objects of a kind to interest even those who [...]

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Observations

Sea Level Rise Dramatized in Multimedia “Book App”

deep-water-book

Of course you know that polar ice sheets and glaciers are melting, and that as a result, sea level is starting to rise. But once you take in a new multimedia book, Deep Water, by Daniel Grossman, you’ll feel the changes in your gut. You will also have a good sense for how scientists are [...]

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Observations

Melting Glaciers Muck Up Earth’s Gravitational Field

Photographs never quite capture the sparkling blue tint of glacial ice, so when I visited the Perito Moreno glacier in Patagonia on a backpacking trip through South America some years ago, I was happy to get this camera angle: the blue of the Argentine flag gives you a sense of what the blue of the [...]

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The Curious Wavefunction

East Antarctic glaciers could be much more vulnerable to climate change than previously thought.

Glacier advance and retreat in the East Antarctic from 1974-2010. Red circles indicate advance, blue indicate retreat, n refers to number of glaciers studied (Image from Miles et al. Nature, 2013)

The warming, melting and potential contributions to sea level rise from glaciers in Greenland and West Antarctica in the face of climate change has long since been a serious concern. The behavior of the much larger East Antarctic ice sheet has been much more uncertain and until now has been thought to be relatively insensitive [...]

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