Cryospheric science

Cryospheric science is the interdisciplinary study of permafrost, snow and ice, primarily on the surface of the Earth, but also on other planets and moons. The cryosphere is an integral part of the climate system, and is investigated with techniques from geophysics, meteorology and hydrology.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research |

    Measurements collected during recent polynya events in the Southern Ocean reveal that these sea ice openings formed as a result of weakened stratification and severe storms and were sustained by deep overturning.

    • Ethan C. Campbell
    • , Earle A. Wilson
    • , G. W. Kent Moore
    • , Stephen C. Riser
    • , Casey E. Brayton
    • , Matthew R. Mazloff
    •  & Lynne D. Talley
    Nature, 1-7
  • Research |

    Ahuna Mons dome on Ceres formed by extrusion of a mixture of brine and solids sourced from a muddy mantle plume, according to numerical modelling of slurry rheology and a gravity anomaly found by the Dawn mission.

    • Ottaviano Ruesch
    • , Antonio Genova
    • , Wladimir Neumann
    • , Lynnae C. Quick
    • , Julie C. Castillo-Rogez
    • , Carol A. Raymond
    • , Christopher T. Russell
    •  & Maria T. Zuber
  • Research |

    The boundary between West and East Antarctica is a tectonic feature that bisects the Ross Ice Shelf. This boundary constrains ocean circulation under the ice, which affects ice stability, according to airborne survey data and ocean simulations.

    • K. J. Tinto
    • , L. Padman
    • , C. S. Siddoway
    • , S. R. Springer
    • , H. A. Fricker
    • , I. Das
    • , F. Caratori Tontini
    • , D. F. Porter
    • , N. P. Frearson
    • , S. L. Howard
    • , M. R. Siegfried
    • , C. Mosbeux
    • , M. K. Becker
    • , C. Bertinato
    • , A. Boghosian
    • , N. Brady
    • , B. L. Burton
    • , W. Chu
    • , S. I. Cordero
    • , T. Dhakal
    • , L. Dong
    • , C. D. Gustafson
    • , S. Keeshin
    • , C. Locke
    • , A. Lockett
    • , G. O’Brien
    • , J. J. Spergel
    • , S. E. Starke
    • , M. Tankersley
    • , M. G. Wearing
    •  & R. E. Bell
    Nature Geoscience 12, 441-449
  • Research |

    Pluto’s subsurface ocean and thickness variation in its ice shell may be maintained by a layer of methane clathrates forming an insulating cap to the ocean, according to calculations of thermal evolution and viscous relaxation.

    • Shunichi Kamata
    • , Francis Nimmo
    • , Yasuhito Sekine
    • , Kiyoshi Kuramoto
    • , Naoki Noguchi
    • , Jun Kimura
    •  & Atsushi Tani
    Nature Geoscience 12, 407-410

News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    Volcanic domes are common in our Solar System but so far only one has been identified on dwarf planet Ceres. New research suggests that numerous volcanic domes may have formed throughout Ceres’s history, indicating that cryovolcanism may have once been more common on the dwarf planet.

    • Lynnae C. Quick
    Nature Astronomy 2, 940-941
  • News and Views |

    Recent, rapid and (in many cases) unprecedented climate changes in the Arctic continue to outpace all other regions. New research argues that local, not remote, mechanisms are responsible for amplifying polar climate change.

    • Patrick C. Taylor
    Nature Climate Change 8, 1035-1036
  • Comments and Opinion |

    Extensive evidence reveals that Earth’s snow cover is declining, but our ability to monitor trends in mountain regions is limited. New satellite missions with robust snow water equivalent retrievals are needed to fill this gap.

    • Kat J. Bormann
    • , Ross D. Brown
    • , Chris Derksen
    •  & Thomas H. Painter
  • Editorial |

    Global snow coverage has declined substantially with anthropogenic warming, impacting biological, socio-economic and physical systems. This issue includes a suite of Comments, Reviews, Perspectives and original research documenting the importance of snow in the climate system, and how this may change with continued warming.