Colorado mountains

Disappearing Cryosphere

Working Group Reports

The cryosphere, that portion of the Earth’s surface where water is in solid form for at least one month a year, has been shrinking in response to climate warming. The extent of sea ice, snow, and glaciers, for example, have been decreasing. In response, the ecosystems within the cryosphere or dependent on the cryosphere have been changing. This Working Group is organized to explore potential research directions related to the ecological impacts of cryosphere loss; and to broaden participation in cryosphere research across the LTER community, and beyond.

The Disappearing Cryosphere Initiative of the US LTER Network started in 2009, with a Workshop in the MBL in Woods Hole, MA. Representatives from 12 LTER Sites (Andrews Forest, Arctic/Toolik Lake, Bonanza Creek, Harvard Forest, Hubbard Brook, Kellogg Biological Station, McMurdo Dry Valleys, Niwot Ridge, North Temperate Lakes, Palmer, Antarctica, Plum Island, and Short Grass Steppe) attended the meeting to presented results from site-based research, and frame a research agenda. A publication, “The disappearing cryosphere: Impacts and ecosystem responses to rapid cryosphere loss,” by Andrew Fountain, Sharon Stammerjohn, John Campbell, Ted Schuur, Mark Williams and Hugh Ducklow was published in the special LTER issue of BioScience in 2012.

At a recent special session on this same topic at the ESA meeting, seveal activities were proposed:

- a Research Coordination Network proposal to NSF;

- publishing a series of peer-reviewed articles in a special, dedicated volume of a suitable journal. Another related idea was writing a review article (going beyond the recent BioScience article) in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, especially as a way of publicizing the topic to a wider audience of the ESA community.

- identifying the processes unifying cryospheric change across regions and cryosphere components.

The objective of this WG is to identify groups of people to move ahead in pursuit of each of these tasks/objectives

Hugh Ducklow
Andrew Fountain
Preferred date(s): 
Sept 12
Number of 2 hour sessions requested: 
Equipment requested: 
Room Assignment: 
Longs Peak - Chasm Lake (60)

Background Photo by: Nicole Hansen - Jornada (JRN) LTER