The International Symposium on The Cryosphere in a Changing Climate will be hosted by Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand, from February 12 to 17, 2017, in Wellington, New Zealand.
This is the first international symposium that will bring together three of the leading international organisations in the field of cryospheric research: the International Glaciological Society (IGS), the International Association of Cryospheric Sciences (IACS), and the WCRP Climate & Cryosphere Project (CliC). The theme of the conference ‘The Cryosphere in a Changing Climate’ is global in scope with a focus on physical processes within the cryosphere, and interactions between the cryosphere and the climate system. This symposium will also serve as the 2017 meeting of New Zealand Snow and Ice Research Group (SIRG; the NZ regional branch of the International Glaciological Society), as well as the location for the IACS Bureau and CliC Scientific Steering Group meetings.
Plenary speakers will include Professor Rob DeConto (University of Massachusetts, ice sheet modelling, 2016 Tinker–Muse prize winner), Professor Ben Marzeion (University of Bremen, mountain glaciers), Professor Marilyn Raphael (University of California, Los Angeles, sea ice, atmospheric circulation) and Professor Dorthe Dahl Jensen (University of Copenhagen, ice cores and climate).
Topics will include (but are not limited to)
1. Contribution of glaciers and ice sheets to sea level changes, past, present and future
2. Thresholds and processes for ice shelf loss in a warming world
3. Attribution of cryospheric changes to natural and anthropogenic climate changes
4. Glacier and ice sheet dynamics: processes, uncertainties, boundary conditions, field and laboratory experiments and modelling
5. Coupling of global climate models to glacier, ice sheet and snow models
6. Ice cores and climate
7. Ice–ocean interactions in a changing climate
8. Contrasting hemispheric sea ice behaviour
9. Cryospheric feedbacks to climate change, including polar amplification of climate
10. Snow processes and their relevance in a changing climate
11. Snow and glacier hydrology, and changing runoff in a warming climate
12. Effects of climate variability and change on mountain glaciers
13. Emerging areas of cryosphere/climate research
1. Contribution of glaciers and ice sheets to sea level changes, past, present and future. Glacier ice around the globe is out of balance with climate and is contributing to sea level rise. Contributions to this theme will examine underlying processes and records of change in the past and present, as well as projections for the future. Theoretical, modelling, and observational approaches are all encouraged.
2. Thresholds and processes for ice shelf loss in a warming world. This theme will highlight the interactions between ice shelves and the Earth system, with focus on the tipping-points and potential vulnerabilities to grounding zone retreat, including intrinsic and forced variability of the system as revealed by both observations and computer modelling of ocean-ice sheet interactions.
3. Attribution of cryospheric changes to natural and anthropogenic climate changes. The cryosphere is a critical indicator of climate change, especially in relation to glacier-fed water supplies and sea level rise. This theme will include contributions on any aspect of attribution studies associated with changes in all components of the cryosphere, from permafrost to ice sheets.
4. Glacier and ice sheet dynamics: processes, uncertainties, boundary conditions, field and laboratory experiments and modelling. This theme will discuss the driving forces and processes important in the dynamics of ice masses. It will address the objective of improving our predictions of the dynamic response of glaciers and ice sheets to global climate change, and aims to integrate approaches from the ice grain scale to planetary length scales and from the timescales of discrete rapid processes (e.g. fracture) to the geological time-scale of ice sheet growth and demise. New data and insights that improve our understanding of ice mechanics and ice-bedrock interactions are an important focus.
5. Coupling of global climate models to glacier, ice sheet and snow models. Spatial and temporal scale differences in processes make it challenging to couple (global) climate models to glacier, ice sheet and snow models. This theme will include all aspects of this coupling: from on- and off-line coupling of climate models to ice sheet models, to downscaling of climate models in order to force small scale glacier and snow models.
6. Ice cores and climate will include discussion of records of glacial/interglacial dynamics and links to sea level change, millennial variability, hemispheric coupling and abrupt changes. Contributions on new frontiers in proxies and proxy development, and ice core studies of ice dynamics and geophysics are also welcome.
7. Ice–ocean interactions in a changing climate. The changing climate of the Arctic, Antarctic and alpine regions has significant consequences for ice and therefore for ice-ocean interactions. This theme seeks contributions that address interactions of the ocean (including sea ice) and land ice using in situ observations, remote sensing, proxy data from sediment cores and/or modelling within the context of the changing climate.
8. Contrasting hemispheric sea ice behaviour. Sea ice is a sensitive indicator of climate change and major changes have been observed in both the Arctic and Antarctic. However, the character of these changes is quite different in the two hemispheres, with total Arctic sea ice extent exhibiting a rapid decline and Antarctic sea ice a small increase. Understanding and contrasting the processes affecting the different hemispheric sea ice behaviour is needed to put these changes into a global context and to enhance our predictive capability.
9. Cryospheric feedbacks to climate change, including permafrost carbon and polar amplification. The cryosphere reacts to climate changes and cryospheric feedbacks to climate change plays an important role on different timescales in the past, present and future. Retreat of ice and snow cover affects the albedo and amplifies climate changes in the polar regions. Polar ice sheets are currently losing mass, and changes in permafrost and Arctic sea ice are expected to enhance future global warming. During the last glacial, abrupt changes have been linked to break-up of sea ice and ice shelves, and the duration and termination of glacial cycles are thought to be related to cryospheric feedbacks. This theme will explore cryospheric feedbacks by modelling or observational approaches in the past, present and future.
10. Snow processes and their relevance in a changing climate will highlight how a better knowledge of these processes is critical for understanding the response of other components of the cryosphere to a changing climate. Discussions will centre around advances in snow physics, snow mechanics, laboratory and field measurement techniques and their application to study the interaction of snow with other cryospheric components.
11. Snow and glacier hydrology, and changing runoff in a warming climate. Snow and glacier hydrology plays a key role in the water and material cycles in the cryosphere. It controls river discharge, sediment transport, glacier mass balance and dynamics, all of which are now affected by warming climate. This theme will include contributions on hydrological processes related to snow and glaciers, as well as the impact of changing climate on hydrology in the cryosphere.
12. Effects of climate variability and change on mountain glaciers. Mountain glaciers are iconic indicators of climate change, and understanding their climatic drivers is critical for anticipating future sea level rise and freshwater security. We seek contributions on the observation and modelling of mountain glaciers and in particular those that seek to identify and understand the natural and anthropogenic influences on glacier mass balance and dynamics, in the geologically recent past, present day and future.
13. Emerging areas of cryosphere/climate research. This theme will include identification of the next generation of key scientific questions; discussion of the challenges to better understand the processes and cryospheric impacts of climate change, including ecosystem response to a changing cryosphere; requirements for new measurement techniques and models; and technology needs and the opportunities that will arise with such advances. It could also include consideration of outreach required to translate new knowledge into policy action.