Special Issue "Interactions between the Cryosphere and Climate (Change)"

A special issue of Atmosphere (ISSN 2073-4433). This special issue belongs to the section "Climatology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (5 February 2021) | Viewed by 5222

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Renato R. Colucci
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Polar Sciences, National Research Council (ISP-CNR Italy) c/o Area Science park, Q2 Building, Basovizza 34149 Trieste, Italy
Interests: glacial geomorphology; periglacial geomorphology; climate and paleoclimate; holocene; glaciology; permafrost; rock glaciers

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The cryosphere represents one of the Earth’s system compartments showing strong signs of dramatic changes due to climate forcing. If global warming is the main common driver causing such changes, the rates, impacts, and processes acting in the mountain and Polar regions can differ markedly. Estimating the response of the global cryosphere to climate change as well as the response of the components of the climate system to changes in the cryosphere relies on an understanding of climate–cryosphere interactions and processes in different regions along with different spatial and temporal scales. Atmospheric forcing has played a crucial role in driving trends and triggering feedbacks in the cryosphere, but changes to the cryosphere may further feed back into large-scale climate variability through atmospheric and oceanic pathways. This Special Issue invites contributions addressing all aspects of cold regions meteorology and the cryosphere interacting with the past, present and future climate system from both modeling and observations. Submissions from multiple approaches, i.e., past records, glaciers, ice caps, sea ice, permafrost, meteorological and geophysical observations, numerical modeling and downscaling methods aiming to advance the current knowledge of the feedbacks between the cryosphere and the climate system are encouraged. Interdisciplinary studies, as well as detailed process surveys, are highly welcome.

Dr. Renato R. Colucci
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • cryosphere
  • glaciers
  • permafrost
  • rock glaciers
  • cold region processes
  • paleoclimate
  • climate change
  • ice caves
  • active layer
  • climate–cryosphere feedbacks

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Article
Atmosphere Driven Mass-Balance Sensitivity of Halji Glacier, Himalayas
Atmosphere 2021, 12(4), 426; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12040426 - 26 Mar 2021
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Abstract
The COupled Snowpack and Ice surface energy and mass balance model in PYthon (COSIPY) was employed to investigate the relationship between the variability and sensitivity of the mass balance record of the Halji glacier, in the Himalayas, north-western Nepal, over a 40 year [...] Read more.
The COupled Snowpack and Ice surface energy and mass balance model in PYthon (COSIPY) was employed to investigate the relationship between the variability and sensitivity of the mass balance record of the Halji glacier, in the Himalayas, north-western Nepal, over a 40 year period since October 1981 to atmospheric drivers. COSIPY was forced with the atmospheric reanalysis dataset ERA5-Land that has been statistically downscaled to the location of an automatic weather station at the Halji glacier. Glacier mass balance simulations with air temperature and precipitation perturbations were executed and teleconnections investigated. For the mass-balance years 1982 to 2019, a mean annual glacier-wide climatic mass balance of −0.48 meters water equivalent per year (m w.e. a−1) with large interannual variability (standard deviation 0.71 m w.e. a−1) was simulated. This variability is dominated by temperature and precipitation patterns. The Halji glacier is mostly sensitive to summer temperature and monsoon-related precipitation perturbations, which is reflected in a strong correlation with albedo. According to the simulations, the climate sensitivity with respect to either positive or negative air temperature and precipitation changes is nonlinear: A mean temperature increase (decrease) of 1 K would result in a change of the glacier-wide climatic mass balance of −1.43 m w.e. a−1 (0.99 m w.e. a−1) while a precipitation increase (decrease) of 10% would cause a change of 0.45m w.e. a−1 (−0.59 m w.e. a−1). Out of 22 circulation and monsoon indexes, only the Webster and Yang Monsoon index and Polar/Eurasia index provide significant correlations with the glacier-wide climatic mass balance. Based on the strong dependency of the climatic mass balance from summer season conditions, we conclude that the snow–albedo feedback in summer is crucial for the Halji glacier. This finding is also reflected in the correlation of albedo with the Webster and Yang Monsoon index. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactions between the Cryosphere and Climate (Change))
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Article
Spatial Variability of Glaciochemistry along a Transect from Zhongshan Station to LGB69, Antarctica
Atmosphere 2021, 12(3), 393; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12030393 - 17 Mar 2021
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Abstract
The spatial glaciochemical variability of snow samples collected along a transect from Zhongshan Station to Lambert Glacier Basin 69 (LGB69) in Antarctica was investigated. Sea-salt ion concentrations exponentially decreased with increasing distance from the coast and/or altitude. The observed high sea-salt ion concentrations [...] Read more.
The spatial glaciochemical variability of snow samples collected along a transect from Zhongshan Station to Lambert Glacier Basin 69 (LGB69) in Antarctica was investigated. Sea-salt ion concentrations exponentially decreased with increasing distance from the coast and/or altitude. The observed high sea-salt ion concentrations within 20.6 km of the coast may be related to preferential wet or dry deposition of sea-salt aerosols. Methanesulfonic acid (MSA), non-sea-salt sulfate (nssSO42−), and calcium (Ca2+) concentrations decreased along the transect. The mean MSA/nssSO42− value of the surface snow samples (0.34 ± 0.08) indicates that coastal sea areas are their likely source regions. The non-sea-salt Ca2+ (nssCa2+)/Ca2+ percentages of the surface snow and LGB69 snow pit samples reveal that continental dust is the primary Ca2+ source. The δD and δ18O values decreased from the coast inland. The variation of deuterium excess (d-excess) along the transect was stable and d-excess values in the two snow pit samples were low and similar, which indicates that the moisture source region between Zhongshan Station and LGB69 is a coastal sea area. These results reveal the spatial distribution patterns and sources of ions and stable isotopes, as well as factors that influence the deposition of ions and the composition of stable isotopes, which provide important insight for further studies of ice cores drilled in Antarctic coastal regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactions between the Cryosphere and Climate (Change))
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Article
Recent Increases in Winter Snowfall Provide Resilience to Very Small Glaciers in the Julian Alps, Europe
Atmosphere 2021, 12(2), 263; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12020263 - 17 Feb 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2040
Abstract
Very small glaciers (<0.5 km2) account for more than 80% of the total number of glaciers and more than 15% of the total glacier area in the European Alps. This study seeks to better understand the impact of extreme snowfall events [...] Read more.
Very small glaciers (<0.5 km2) account for more than 80% of the total number of glaciers and more than 15% of the total glacier area in the European Alps. This study seeks to better understand the impact of extreme snowfall events on the resilience of very small glaciers and ice patches in the southeastern European Alps, an area with the highest mean annual precipitation in the entire Alpine chain. Mean annual precipitation here is up to 3300 mm water equivalent, and the winter snow accumulation is approximately 6.80 m at 1800 m asl averaged over the period 1979–2018. As a consequence, very small glaciers and ice/firn patches are still present in this area at rather low altitudes (1830–2340 m). We performed repeated geodetic mass balance measurements on 14 ice bodies during the period 2006–2018 and the results show an increase greater than 10% increase in ice volume over this period. This is in accordance with several extreme winter snow accumulations in the 2000s, promoting a positive mass balance in the following years. The long-term evolution of these very small glaciers and ice bodies matches well with changes in mean temperature of the ablation season linked to variability of Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. Nevertheless, the recent behaviour of such residual ice masses in this area where orographic precipitation represents an important component of weather amplification is somehow different to most of the Alps. We analysed synoptic meteorological conditions leading to the exceptional snowy winters in the 2000s, which appear to be related to the influence and modification of atmospheric planetary waves and Arctic Amplification, with further positive feedbacks due to change in local sea surface temperature and its interactions with low level flows and the orography. Although further summer warming is expected in the next decades, we conclude that modification of storm tracks and more frequent occurrence of extreme snowfall events during winter are crucial in ensuring the resilience of small glacial remnants in maritime alpine sectors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactions between the Cryosphere and Climate (Change))
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