Ice is found all over the world in a wide variety of forms. More than simply frozen water, the various forms of ice tell the story of their environment as they change with the seasons and show trends of the changing climate on Earth. Scientists study core samples pulled from the depths of large ice formations, such as ice caps and glaciers, to uncover how the local climate has changed over hundreds of years and to help predict how climate will change in the future, said Melissa Hage, an environmental scientist and assistant professor at Oxford College of Emory University in Georgia. Here we define the common terms that describe the various types of ice formations found around the world. Glaciers Glaciers are large, freshwater ice masses on land that are formed from falling snow that eventually becomes so heavy that it's compressed into ice, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). Glaciers range in size from about the length of a football field (120 yards, or 110 … [Read more...] about What Are the Different Types of Ice Formations Found on Earth?
Home Features Space Feature 25 July 2018 A fleeting glimpse of the ice giants 30 years ago hinted at very weird science that could tell us a lot about exoplanets. Now we have a rare chance to go back By Leah CraneA FEW billion kilometres from here, two cerulean marbles hang in the blackness of space. Neptune and Uranus are not the most distant objects in the solar system. They aren’t the biggest or the smallest. They don’t have the brightest colours. But they do hold the greatest mysteries. We have roved across Mars, we have orbited Jupiter, we have even landed on Venus. But our only close look at the ice giants Neptune and Uranus came more than 30 years ago when the Voyager 2 spacecraft hurtled past on its way out of the solar system. It snapped a few pictures, then the planets faded from view. “Everything we know up close about these planets and their moons is based on that single fly-by,” says NASA … [Read more...] about Forgotten giants: Why the time is ripe to revisit Uranus and Neptune
A massive hole called a polynya opened in Antarctica’s Weddell Sea last month, a strange occurrence as polynyas typically don’t develop deep in the ice pack, Motherboard reports. “It looks like you just punched a hole in the ice,” atmospheric physicist Kent Moore, a professor at the University of Toronto Mississauga, explained. A larger version of the hole was observed in satellite observations in the same area of Antarctica in 1974, and it reopened last year for a few weeks. At its peak, the Weddell Polynya measured 31,000 square miles, which is larger than the Netherlands and nearly the size of the state of Maine. "This is now the second year in a row it's opened after 40 years of not being there," Moore said. "We're still trying to figure out what's going on." A polynya typically forms farther offshore, driven by the upwelling of warm water according to NASA. “While smaller and shorter-lived than the 1970s Weddell polynya, it’s still an unusual … [Read more...] about Researchers Wonder Why a Giant Hole Keeps Opening Up in Antarctica
A gas giant is a large planet composed mostly of gases, such as hydrogen and helium, with a relatively small rocky core. The gas giants of our solar system are Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. These four large planets, also called jovian planets after Jupiter, reside in the outer part of the solar system past the orbits of Mars and the asteroid belt. Jupiter and Saturn are substantially larger than Uranus and Neptune, and each pair of planets has a somewhat different composition. Although there are only four large planets in our solar system, astronomers have discovered thousands outside of it, particularly using NASA's Kepler Space Telescope. These exoplanets (as they are called) are being examined to learn more about how our solar system came to be. Basic facts Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system. It has a radius almost 11 times the size of Earth. It has 50 known moons and 17 waiting to be confirmed, according to NASA. The planet is mostly made of hydrogen and … [Read more...] about Gas Giants: Facts About the Outer Planets
Scientists on their way to investigate a mysterious region of Antarctica's seafloor, hidden by thick ice for 120,000 years, have run into an obstacle: Their research ship has been forced to turn north, after dense sea ice prevented it from reaching the southern Larsen C ice-shelf. The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) announced today (March 2) that the captain of the research vessel RRS James Clark Ross had made the "difficult decision" to turn back from the Larsen C region after encountering pack sea ice up to 16 feet (5 meters) thick. The thick ice has slowed the ship to a few miles a day, and they were running out of time in the Antarctic's brief summer to reach the Larsen C area and complete a marine survey. The seafloor alongside the ice-shelf was exposed last year after the calving of the giant iceberg known as A-68. [In Photos: Antarctica's Larsen C Ice Shelf Through Time] "We knew that getting through the sea ice to reach Larsen C would be difficult," BAS expedition leader and … [Read more...] about Expedition to ‘Hidden’ Antarctic Ecosystem Turned Back by Heavy Ice