Permafrost that lives up to its name

Ancient Canadian ice survived previous warm periods.

A 740,000-year-old wedge of ice discovered in central Yukon Territory, Canada, is the oldest known ice in North America. It suggests that permafrost has survived climates warmer than today’s, according to a new study.

“Previously, it was thought that the permafrost had completely disappeared from the interior about 120,000 years ago,” says Duane Froese, an earth scientist at the University of Alberta in … Read the rest

Arctic radio

Free Radicals

When the CCGS Amundsen, a Canadian research ice breaker, left its home port of Quebec City in July 2007, it embarked upon a historic 15-month expedition that would have it travel across the Arctic and overwinter in the Beaufort Sea.

The scientists on board the  Amundsen might spend their days hunting for ice algae, fishing for zooplankton, or surveying the contours of the nearby ice floes. … Read the rest

The missing greenhouse gas

Growth of the electronics industry will boost emissions of a ‘hidden’ — but extremely potent — greenhouse gas.

Our insatiable appetite for gadgets — mobile phones, MP3 players and flat-screen TVs — may be adding a hidden greenhouse gas to the Earth’s atmosphere. Countries that ratified the Kyoto Protocol committed to reducing their emissions of carbon dioxide and five other heat-trapping gases: methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride. … Read the rest

Rapid Ice Retreat Threatens Arctic Interior

Nature Reports: Climate Change

The rapid decline of sea ice could accelerate inland warming over the Arctic region, radically transforming the landscape.

One of the Northern Hemisphere’s natural cycles is the expansion and contraction of the floating Arctic ice cap. Typically, sea ice decreases during the Arctic summer, reaching a low in September, before recovering as temperatures drop in winter. From as far back as satellite measurements began in 1978 … Read the rest