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. 8.2 ka Event from Greenland Ice Core
  2. 8,2 ka Event - Links East Asian Monsoon & Climate of the North Atlantic
  3. Abyssal Ocean Warming and Salinification Following Weddell Polynyas in GDFL CM2G Coupled Climate Models
  4. Amundsen Sea Ice Shelves – Increased Melting of Ice Shelves in the Amundsen Sea
  5. Amundsen Sea Shelf Break – Oceanographic Observations
  6. Ancestral East Antarctic Ice Sheet - Anatomy of a Meltwater Drainage System Beneath it
  7. Anomalous Arctic Warming Linked to Reduced North American Terrestrial Primary Productivity
  8. Antarctic Bottom Water in the Eastern Weddell Gyre – Remotely Induced Warming
  9. Antarctic Bottom Water - Freshening and Warming 1980s-2000s
  10. Antarctic Climate Change and Environment - Deep-Time, the Geological Dimension
  11. Antarctic Climate Change and Environment - The Holocene
  12. Antarctic Climate Change and Environment - Changes During the Instrumental Period
  13. Antarctic Climate Change and Environment - Next 100 Years
  14. Antarctic Climate Change During the Last Interglacial and Local Orbital Forcing
  15. Antarctic Dry Valleys – Formation of Thermokarst in the McMurdo Dry Valleys
  16. Antarctic Ice Sheet – Mass Balance from 1992 to 2017
  17. Antarctic Ice Sheet – the Prescience of Palaeoclimatology and its Future
  18. Antarctic Ice Shelves – Response of Pacific-Sector to the El Niρo/Southern Oscillation (ENSO)
  19. Antarctic Sea Ice
  20. Arctic Melting of Sea Ice in Summer – Role of Polar Anticyclones and Middle Latitude Cyclones
  21. Arctic Sea Ice Incredibly Thin Shocks Researchers
  22. Antarctic Sea Ice Expansion - Important role of Ocean Warming and Increased Ice-Shelf Melt
  23. Arctic Methane Release – Global Impact
  24. Antarctica - Role in Global Environment
  25. Antarctica - East Antarctic Ice Sheet
  26. East Antarctic Ice Sheet - Dynamic Behaviour During the Pliocene Warmth
  27. East Antarctica - Abrupt Climate Warming in the Early Holocene
  28. Antarctica – Changing Icescapes
  29. Antarctic Glacier Grounding Lines Net Retreat
  30. Antarctica - Glacier Tongues
  31. Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets - Acceleration of their Contribution to Sea Level Rise
  32. Antarctica - Outlet, Valley and Piedmont Glaciers
  33. Antarctica Has a Huge Mantle Plume Beneath it, Which Might Explain its High Degree of Instability
  34. Antarctica - Ice Sheets - the glacial setting at the present
  35. Antarctica - Ice Shelves
  36. Antarctica - Ice Flow Sensitivity of Pine Island Glacier to Geothermal Heat Flux
  37. Antarctica – Mobile Magma Beneath the Ice
  38. Antarctica – The Threat Beneath
  39. Antarctica – Thwaites Glacier Basin, West Antarctica, Marine Ice Sheet Collapse Potentially Underway
  40. Arctic Warm Event – Exceptional Air Mass Transport and Dynamical Drivers of Extreme Wintertime Warm Event in the Arctic
  41. Glacier Changes in Asia
  42. Larsen C Ice Shelf, Basal Crevasses – Implications of meltwater ponding and Hydrofracture
  43. Larsen C Ice Shelf – Impact on Basal Melting of Tide-Topography Interactions
  44. Larsen C Ice Shelf – In situ Observations of Ocean Circulation Beneath it
  45. Larsen C Ice Shelf – Marine Ice Formation in a Suture Zone and its Influence on the Dynamics of the Ice Shelf
  46. Larsen C Ice Shelf – the Structure and Effect of Suture Zones  
  47. Antarctica - Pine Island Glacier, subglacial melt channels & Fracture in Floating Part
  48. Antarctica - Pine Island Glacier, West Antarctica, Rapid Subglacial Erosion
  49. Antarctica - Pine Island Glacier, West Antarctica, Sustained Glacier Retreat
  50. Antarctica - Pine Island Bay, West Antarctica – Ice Cavity Water Export
  51. Antarctica - Polygonal Ground in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica – it’s Relationship to Depth of the Ice Table and Recent Climatic History
  52. Antarctica - Sea Ice
  53. Antarctica – Thwaites Glacier Basin, West Antarctica, Marine Ice Sheet Collapse Potentially Underway
  54. Antarctica - The West Antarctic Ice Sheet - WAIS
  55. Antarctic Surface Waters - Abrupt Cooling and Sea Ice Expansion in the Southern Ocean, South Atlantic Sector at 5,000 Cal Yr BP
  56. Atlantic Overturning Circulation and Labrador Sea Convection Affected by Recent Increases in the Influx of Arctic Freshwater
  57. Bψlling Transition – Global climate Changes Near-Synchronous in Ice Core Record
  58. Bottom Water Export from Western Ross Sea, 2007-2010
  59. Brinicles
  60. Centennial Retreat of Glaciers - Categorical Evidence of Climate Change
  61. East Siberian Arctic Shelf Waters Acidification by Freshwater Addition and Terrestrial Carbon
  62. Submarine End Moraines on the Continental Shelf Off NE Greenland - Implications for Late Glacial Dynamics
  63. Climate Feedback
  64. The Cryosphere - Biosphere Interactions
  65.  Cryosphere Climate Links
  66. The Cryosphere - The Geography of Snow and Ice on Earth
  67. The Cryosphere - Glaciers & Ice Sheets
  68. The Cryosphere - Albedo of Snow and Ice
  69. The Cryosphere - Effects on the Hydrological Cycle
  70. The Cryosphere - Interaction between Ocean and Ice 
  71. The Cryosphere - Influence on Circulation of the Atmosphere
  72. The Cryosphere - As a Latent Energy Buffer
  73. The Cryosphere - Permafrost
  74. During the Transition from the Last Interglacial to the Last Glacial Air-Sea Decoupling Occurred in Western Europe
  75. Decoupling of Air-Sea Temperature in Western Europe During the Interglacial-Glacial Transition
  76. East Antarctic Ice Shelf – Meltwater Produced by Interaction between wind and albedo stored in the East Antarctic Ice Sheet
  77. Glaciers – Substantial mass Loss in the Tien Shan over the past 50 Years
  78. Global Thermohaline Circulation
  79. Global Tidal Impacts Resulting from Large-Scale Ice Sheet Collapses
  80. Greenland – Extreme Temperature Events in Observations and the MAR Climate Model
  81. Greenland Ice Flow for the international Polar Year 2008-2009
  82. Greenland Ice Sheet – Melting at the Base Explained by the History of Iceland Hotspot
  83. Greenland Ice Sheet – Palaeofluvial Mega-canyon Beneath the Central Section
  84. Greenland Ice Sheet – Velocity Structure Changes
  85. Greenland Interstadials and the Younger Dryas-Preboreal Transition: Early-Warning Signals for the Onsets  
  86. Greenland’s Marine Terminating Glaciers – Changes to Understanding the Dynamic Response to Oceanic and Atmospheric Forcing
  87. Greenland Meltwater Emerging Impact on the Formation of Deepwater in the North Atlantic
  88. West Greenland – Undercutting of Marine-Terminating Glaciers
  89. Greenland - Oceanic Transport of Surface Meltwater from Southern Greenland Ice Sheet
  90. Hiawatha Glacier in Northwest Greenland – A Large Impact Crater
  91. Southwest Labrador Sea off Newfoundland, Oceanographic changes in the Holocene
  92. Jakobshavn Isbrae – Acceleration Triggered by Warm Subsurface Ocean Waters
  93. Kronebreen, Svalbard – Effects of Undercutting and Sliding on Calving: a Global Approach
  94. Marinoan Snowball Earth Glaciation – Ice Sheet Fluctuations that were Orbitally Forced
  95. Methane Emissions Proportional to Carbon from Permafrost Thawed in Arctic Lakes Since the 1950s
  96. New Volcanic Province – Inventory of Subglacial Volcanoes in West Antarctica
  97. Northern Hemisphere Ice-Sheet Influences Global Climate Change
  98. Oceanic Convection Chimneys
  99. Oceanic Ice Shelf Melting – the Effect of Basal Channels
  100. Pan-Arctic Melt Onset – Recent Changes from Satellite Passive Microwave Measurements
  101. Patagonian Icefields, South America, Ice Motion 1984-2014
  102. Permafrost carbon - Catalyst for deglaciation
  103. Permafrost – High Biolability of Carbon in Ancient Permafrost upon Thaw
  104. Permafrost stores an Amount of Mercury that is Globally Significant
  105. Pine Island Bay, West Antarctica – Export and Circulation of Cavity Water
  106. Pine Island Glacier Ice Shelf Melt Distributed at Kilometre Scale
  107. Polar Wander Linked to Climate Change
  108. Possible Global Ice Volume Changes and Geomagnetic Excursions and Earth Orbital Eccentricity
  109. A Rossby Wave Bridge Connecting West Antarctica to the Tropical Atlantic Ocean
  110. Rossby Waves Mediate Impacts on West Antarctic Atmospheric Circulation of Tropical Oceans
  111. Southern Ocean Overturn Upper Branch – Water-Mass transformation by Sea Ice
  112. The Southern Ocean has been slowing Global Warming by Absorbing Carbon, But that Could Change
  113. Terrestrial Permafrost – the Threat from Thawing
  114. Tidewater Glaciers – Scalings for Submarine Melting from Buoyant Plume Theory
  115. Totten Ice Shelf – Rapid Basal Melt Driven by Ocean Heat
  116. Totten Glacier, East Antarctica - Ocean Access to a Cavity Beneath it
  117. Totten Glacier – Inland Bed Erosion Indicates Repeated Retreat on a Large Scale
  118. Totten Ice Shelf Melt and Acceleration caused by Wind
  119. East Antarctic Ice Sheet - Initiation and Instability
  120. West Antarctic Ice Sheet – Microbial Oxidation as Methane Sink Beneath WAIS
  121. Western Tethys – Glacial Dropstones during the Late Aptian-Early Albian Cold Snap – Palaeoclimate and Palaeogeographic Implications for the Mid-Cretaceous
  122. Western Tibet – Massive collapse of 2 Glaciers in 2016 following Surge-like Instability

Sources & Further reading

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