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CliC News

Here's what has been happening lately in CliC. Let us know if you have things to share.

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Science Feature: High variability of climate and surface mass balance induced by Antarctic ice rises

- contributed by Jan Lenaerts, IMAU, Utrecht University, The Netherlands. Published as a result of a CliC co-sponsored 2013 Ice Rises workshop.

Fig. RACMO2 topography, doi: 10.3189/2014JoG14J040Ice rises, grounded features surrounded by floating ice shelves, are abundant on the Antarctic ice sheet. They are important for ice sheet stability, since they keep the ice shelf in place, thereby preventing the upstream ice from discharging into the ocean. Moreover, since the ice around ice rises flows very slowly, ice cores drilled locally may reveal the climate and glaciation history of Antarctica.

The importance of ice rises in ice sheet stability and climate reconstruction was discussed in August 2013 during a workshop in Trømso, Norway, which was partially sponsored by CliC. A team of experts was brought together to discuss latest scientific results and future directions in Antarctic ice rise research. One of the most pressing subjects involved the topography of ice rises: they are typically tens to hundreds of meter higher than the flat ice shelf, which might lead to important spatial variations in climate and accumulation. These variations were described and analysed using a unique combination of atmospheric model output, and firn core measurements and radar observations recently collected in East Antarctica in a recent paper. We found that ice rises have a strong orographic effect on precipitation, with a typical two- to five-fold increase in the amount of snowfall on the windward side of ice rises with respect to the leeward side. We also found spatial variability in near-surface temperature and wind around ice rises, enhancing snow redistribution and sublimation.

Our results are important for the ice coring community: an ice core on the windward side of an ice rise will retrieve annually-resolved, recent accumulation history, whereas a core on the lee side of the ice rise will allow climate reconstructions further back in time, but with poorer temporal resolution. We conclude that these climate and accumulation variations need to be considered in ice shelf mass balance studies and studies on Antarctic ice sheet stability.

J. T. M. Lenaerts, J. Brown, M. R. van den Broeke, K. Matsuoka, R. Drews, D. Callens, M. Philippe, I. V. Gorodetskaya, E. van Meijgaard, C. H. Reijmer, F. Pattyn, N. P. M. van Lipzig: High variability of climate and surface mass balance induced by Antarctic ice rises. J. Glaciol., 60, 224, doi: 10.3189/2014JoG14J040

For contact please e-mail: Jan Lenaerts

Call for Abstracts: Session on Cryosphere, Atmosphere and Climate at the 26th IUGG General Assembly

-IACS Symposium C15 is a CliC sponsored activity

IACS Symposium C15: Cryosphere, Atmosphere and Climate: Evaluation of the Cryosphere in CMIP5 Models will be convened at the 26th IUGG General Assembly to be held from June 22 to July 2, 2015, in Prague, Czech Republic.

Convener: Alexandra Jahn (Boulder, USA)
Co-conveners: Gerhard Krinner (Grenoble, France) and François Massonnet (Louvain, Belgium)

The Fifth Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) provides a large multi-model ensemble of historical simulations, idealized experiments, and future projections that were used extensively in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report. Although some initial evaluation of the ability of the CMIP5 models to simulate aspects of the cryosphere was undertaken in Chapter 9 of the IPCC report, more in-depth evaluation remains to be done. This symposium invites contributions in which cryosphere components (sea-ice, snow, ice sheets, permafrost, etc.) in CMIP5 models are evaluated by comparison to a range of in-situ and remotely-sensed data. Novel evaluation approaches, in which important physical processes are identified and probed, are particularly welcome, as are contributions to understanding the link between model quality (as evaluated by comparison to historical observations) and confidence in model predictions on seasonal to interannual time scales, and in model projections of longer-term future climate. Careful evaluation of model biases and shortcomings also helps guide ongoing model development through the identification of processes or feedbacks that are not well represented. Therefore, this symposium also invites contributions in which model evaluation is applied to understanding shortcomings in the representation of cryospheric.

We invite you to submit an abstract for this session and attend it! Please see the abstract submission guidelines here.

Permafrost Carbon Network Session and Annual Meeting at AGU

- The Permafrost Carbon Network is a CliC sponsored activity

The Permafrost Carbon Network (RCN) is convening a session at the upcoming fall American Geophysical Union meeting (AGU). The session B106-I, Permafrost Carbon to Climate Change, has received 71 abstracts and has been allocated three oral time slots (B41O, B42D, B43J) on Thursday, December 18, from 8:00 am to 3:40 pm. The poster session, Vulnerability of Permafrost Carbon to Climate Change, will take place on Wednesday, December 17, from 8:00 am–12:20 pm (B31G).

The annual meeting of the network will also be taking place in conjunction with AGU, and is being held at the Intercontinental Hotel on Sunday, December 14 (9:00 am–5:00 pm) in San Francisco. The agenda for the meeting can be found here. Participants must register by filling out the Doodle Poll. Lunch will be provided for those who sign up before the food order is placed on November 7.

For more information on the meeting and other recent developments, please visit their website: http://www.permafrostcarbon.org/

Call for abstracts: Arctic Freshwater System at ASSW 2015

We invite submissions to Session C7: Arctic Freshwater System at the Arctic Science Summit Week/ISAR-4/ICARP III Symposium (27-30 April, 2015) in Toyama, Japan! The Symposium, in general, will address the overarching themes “Rapid change of the Arctic climate system and its global influence” (ISAR-4) and “Integrating Arctic Research: a Roadmap for the Future” (ICARP III).

Session C7 will be on the Arctic Freshwater System, Changes and Effects with Emphasis on Arctic freshwater Ecosystems. It will be convened by Alexander Milner, University of Birmingham, Warwick Vincent, Université Laval, Terry Prowse, University of Victoria, and Johanna Mård Karlsson, Stockholm University. This session focuses on how major Arctic freshwater sources, fluxes and storage components are being modified, including: atmospheric and river transport, precipitation-evaporation-permafrost/soil moisture regimes, glacier and ice cap mass balances, sea-ice formation and dynamics, and marine exchanges including oceanic storage and release of low-salinity water. Also of interest are ecological and socio-economic effects that cascade from changes in these freshwater components and related processes.

Session C7 is part of the Arctic Freshwater Synthesis (AFS) project that is being led and coordinated by CliC, in partnership with IASC and AMAP. Funding for this project has been provided by CliC, IASC, AMAP and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information on the AFS project here!

Submissions can be made via the ASSW 2015 Website until November 10, 2014!

Call for Abstracts: Numerical Models for Climate Studies and Forecasting at High Latitudes

We will be convening a session on weather and climate modeling in the polar regions at the 26th IUGG General Assembly 22 June - 2 July 2015 in Prague, Czech Republic. Please note that the deadline for submitting abstracts is 31 January 2015.


IAMAS Symposium M04: Numerical Models for Climate Studies and Forecasting at High Latitudes

Convener: John Cassano (Boulder, USA)
Co-conveners: Matthew Lazzara (Madison, USA), Tom Bracegirdle (Cambridge, U.K.)

Over the last decade there has been an increasing focus on polar weather and climate modelling. However, at high latitudes there are processes that are often poorly represented, such as atmospheric boundary layers, cloud physics, sea ice dynamics and thermodynamics, and snow processes. Often this is due to a lack of observations of the processes being modelled. This symposium will focus on the current state of polar-focused weather, regional, and global climate modelling and observational efforts aimed at improving polar models.

Call for Abstracts: EGU Polar Climate Predictability and Prediction

Polar Climate Predictability and Prediction (co-organized)

Convener: Neven-Stjepan Fuckar
Co-Conveners: Cecilia Bitz, Virginie Guemas, Ed Hawkins, Matthieu Chevallier, Torben Koenigk, Edward Blanchard-Wrigglesworth, Rym Msadek

The Arctic sea ice cover and many other elements of the cryosphere are experiencing significant changes over the modern observational era. The polar climate is crucial for the Earth’s energy and water budget, and its variability and change have direct socio-economic impacts. However, most of climate models are not yet in position to provide us with accurate predictions of polar climate. We welcome presentations advancing understanding of the mechanisms that control polar climate variability on sub-seasonal to multi-decadal timescales and climate change. We encourage submissions that examine sources of polar climate predictability in a hierarchy of models, and link polar processes and predictions with mid- and low-latitude climate. We look forward to studies using remote sensing data, field observations, proxy data, theory and numerical models encompassing climate projections, reanalyses and forecast systems. This session aims to further connection between the atmospheric, oceanic and cryospheric research and operational communities.

Abstract Submission: http://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EGU2015/session/18184
Deadline for submission: 7 January 2015, 1300 CET

New Mailing List and Calendar for Prediction and Predictability in Polar Regions

Arctic and Antarctic weather and climate prediction and predictability issues are high up on the polar (research) communities' agenda. A vast amount of information is available in different media. To help connect sending and receiving parties, a dedicated electronic mailing list tailored to people interested in Arctic and Antarctic prediction and predictability is being set up.  We will strive to keep you informed about upcoming events, recent findings, new papers and developments.

We have also created a calendar to help coordinate activities as well:

To be added to the mailing list or add an event to the calendar, please send an email to with the subject line: subscribe prediction mailing list (or event).

Members of the list will be able to post directly. If you are not a member and you would like to send something, please send your message to Stefanie Klebe from the Polar Prediction Project International Coordination Office.

For more information, contact
Jenny Baeseman, Director Climate & Cryosphere Project (CliC)
Stefanie Klebe, ICO for the Polar Prediction Project

Permafrost Research Priorities Update - 650 Questions Received

The Permafrost Research Priorities survey for submitting future research questions closed on 20 September. We have received almost 650 questions from more than 300 participants. The International Permafrost Association (IPA) and the Climate and Cryosphere Project (CliC) thank the community for this great response to the project.

The PRP core group will now review the submitted questions to assure they meet the criteria by Sutherland et al. (2011) outlined at the beginning of the project, discard questions that do not meet the criteria, merge similar questions, and if necessary, reword questions with grammatical errors or other language issues. This will set the stage for the community ranking set to start in November.

A list of all the submitted questions and preliminary figures depicting demographic data can be found here.

Preliminary statistics from part two (demographics) of the survey show that:

  • The respondents come from 37 countries
  • A majority of the respondents (69 %) are men working within academia (68%)
  • 79 % of the respondents have a PhD as their highest academic degree
  • The respondents have a wide range of areas of primary expertise, the most common being geomorphology (13 % of respondents), ecology, engineering and infrastructure, and climate change (each 8 % of respondents) and the least common being industrial development and impacts (no respondent), land use and community planning (1 respondent), and mapping (1 respondent).
  • Age distribution and years of experience working with permafrost related issues for respondents are across the full spectrum.

The PRP core group looks forward to getting your input again in the voting process, which is scheduled from November 10 to December 18. Invitations to the voting process will be sent to all who provided their contact email in the survey form, and will also be publicly announced through list-serves such as permalist and cryolist.

For more information, please visit http://www.climate-cryosphere.org/activities/targeted/permafrost-research-priorities.