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