Dark Snow Project 2018 Field Season

April 24, 2018

Earth Day has come and gone, and it’s time to kick off the 2018 Dark Snow Project Field season fund raiser.

The video highlights the ways researchers and communicators have used the Dark Snow effort as a platform to publish research in major journals, and create new climate awareness initiatives in the media.

supportdarksnow

Scientists Marek Stibal and Jonathan Ryan both published significant research in 2017, shedding light on aspects of the increasing Greenland melt, and contribution to sea level rise.

goodellbookAlso in 2017, Rolling Stone’s Jeff Goodell, who flew with the Dark Snow team on a brain-boggling ride along the edge of the world’s fastest moving ice stream in 2013, published a landmark international best-selling book on the global impacts of sea level rise – The Water Will Come.

“I think about that trip to Greenland a lot.” says Goodell who described the trip, the team and the insights gained at length in the book, and explains in the video the expanded perspective  lasting impact of the Dark Snow experience.

Scientific American:

Algae growth as a result of climate change is making the Greenland ice sheet, a primary contributor to sea-level rise, melt faster, according to a new study.

Algae grows naturally on the ice sheet, but it thrives under a warmer climate. It makes the Greenland ice sheet, which is the second-largest ice sheet on Earth, less reflective of the sun, which means the ice absorbs more of the sun’s heat. This, in turn, drives more rapid melting, according to the paper published yesterday in Geophysical Research Letters.

stibalpaper2a

Researchers found that algae accounts for about 5 to 10 percent of total ice sheet melt each summer. That means algae plays a greater role in melting than previously believed, said Marek Stibal, a cryosphere ecologist at Charles University in the Czech Republic and one of the lead authors of the new study.

“As the climate warms, the area that the algae can grow in will expand, so they’ll colonize more of the ice sheet,” he said in a statement. “Additionally, the growing season will lengthen, so the contribution of algae to melting of the ice will probably increase over time.”

jonny

Jonathan Ryan in Dark Snow Science tent

Black carbon and dust have been tracked by researchers as contributors to melting of the Greenland ice sheet. Like algae, the dark particles cut down on the albedo, or reflectivity, of the otherwise white surface. The particles absorb the sun’s rays and warm the Earth underneath. Stibal said typically researchers have only looked at inorganic materials when studying ice sheet behavior, but the new research suggests that biological factors also play a significant role.

jasonvr

Inside Climate News:

The new research, published in the journal Nature Communications, describes a geological feedback loop on the ice that’s expanding the dark zone: Warming melts the western edge of the ice sheet, releasing mineral dust from rock crushed by the ice sheet thousands of years ago. That dust blows to the surface of the ice, nurturing the microbes and algae living there. Those organisms produce colored pigments as sunscreen, which contribute to the darkening of the surface, reducing reflectivity and increasing melting.

A scientist takes a sample of dark biological material from the Greenland Ice Sheet for testing. Credit: Dark Snow Project

Marek Stibal taking biological samples on Greenland Ice

Box was part of a research group that used images collected by drones to assess a 25-kilometer slice of the dark zone. They found that a mix of soot, dust and algae account for 73 percent of the darkening, with the terrain and other unknown variables accounting for the rest.

The exact breakdown of the different substances is still being studied, but the last few years of research show the algae and microbes are the dominant cause of the darkening.

pete_interview

The Dark Snow field work as also provided an indispensable opportunity for me to work with scientists in the field, make contacts in the ice science community, and gain the trust of key researchers who have become my mentors and friends.
The regular videos created for Yale Climate Connections have become a trusted resource for journalists, students and communicators in the wider world, the the archive of scientist interviews obtained both in the field and at home have become a historical resource of global significance.

This year’s initiative is still in the planning phases, and I’ll be describing in some detail in coming weeks as we know more – but once again, we’ll be pushing the boundaries of science, art, and media to create more vehicles for scientists to communicate, and communicators to understand science.

I hope you’ll all see fit to help us again.

petesunface

 

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10 Responses to “Dark Snow Project 2018 Field Season”

  1. ted knopper Says:

    When one is looking at Greenland, many studies have been done on the place. Here is an example.
    Greenland Ice Sheet Mass Balance Reconstruction. Part II: Surface Mass Balance (1840–2010)*
    Jason E. Box+
    Byrd Polar Research Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
    Add to Favorites Track Citation Download Citation Email
    https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00518.1
    You may notice a slight problem, the start of the study is in 1840 which is when the little ice age was going away not in say 1600 the depths of the little ice age.
    what the ice sheet was in say 1000 at the height of the medieval warm period or in 6500-4500 BP when the arctic was ice free in summer is not discussed.

    http://scrippsscholars.ucsd.edu/jseveringhaus/content/high-variability-greenland-surface-temperature-over-past-4000-years-estimated-trapped-air-ic and similiar studies due attempt to find out temperatures and ice for longer periods. The results shows Greenland is not a static ice field and varies a lot.

  2. Sir Charles Says:

    You’re again repeating yourself, ted. So here my reply again:

    The dataset used in this study by Kobashi et al 2011 ends at 1993. So here the graph up to 2010:

    The study was taken into account in this further research from 2015 => NPI seminar: Ice core evidence for cold Greenland in the late 20th century induced by modern solar maximum

    The authors “hypothesize that an unusually high solar activity during the modern solar maximum (ca. 1950s-1980s) produced a cooling and thus a delayed warming over Greenland in the late 20th century through the AMOC slow-down with atmospheric feedback processes. With solar activity expected to continue declining over the next decades, a continued and even faster Greenland warming than projected for increasing greenhouse gases would be expected, inducing increased surface melting of and thus marked mass loss from the ice sheet with potential global impacts.

  3. Sir Charles Says:

    This issue is directly connected to the melting glaciers in Greenland:

    =>
    Avoid Gulf stream disruption at all costs, scientists warn

    How close the world is to a catastrophic collapse of giant ocean currents is unknown, making halting global warming more critical than ever, scientists say

    The new research worries scientists because of the huge impact global warming has already had on the currents and the unpredictability of a future “tipping point”.

  4. dumboldguy Says:

    Can we get back on topic and away from Knothead’s gibberish and Sir Chucky’s never-ending display of his remarkable googling skills (usually of pieces that many of us have already seen)?

    Can we look again at Peter’s closing words?

    “The Dark Snow field work has also provided an indispensable opportunity for me to work with scientists in the field, make contacts in the ice science community, and gain the trust of key researchers who have become my mentors and friends.
    The regular videos created for Yale Climate Connections have become a trusted resource for journalists, students and communicators in the wider world, the the archive of scientist interviews obtained both in the field and at home have become a historical resource of global significance”.

    Dark Snow is doing important work—-ice and the arctic is where SHTF time is closest, and anything we can do to better understand what’s happening there is to our benefit. Peter with Crocks and Climate Connections is one of the best resources around, particularly in that he explores fields other than science that are contributory to the AGW problem.

    Send some $$$$ to Dark Snow now, and also look for the “donate” to Crock button in the upper right corner of every Crock Post —-credit cards accepted.


    • Done, DOG!

      Always wish it could be more, but it doesn’t have to be a million dollars to help.

      …Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if people like the Koch brothers used their vast wealth to fund things like Dark Snow instead of their fascist takeover operations. Then I realize it does not compute. They would rather see us all dead, dead, dead than give up a single dime.


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