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# Arctic Ocean sediments reveal permafrost thawing during past climate warming

Björn Eriksson

A new paper co-authored by Francesco Muschitiello has used seafloor sediments of the Arctic Ocean to understand how permafrost responds to climate warming and found evidence of past permafrost thawing during climate warming events at the end of the last ice age.

The study also shows for the first time that permafrost thawing occurred concomitantly with the release of large quantities of atmospheric CO2 as recorded in Antarctic ice cores. The findings suggest that Arctic warming by only a few degrees Celsius may be sufficient to disturb large areas covered by permafrost and potentially affect the Earth's climate system.

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# Dr Simon Ommanney

It is with great sadness that we share news of the passing of Dr Simon Ommanney, who spent a number of years at the Scott Polar Research Institute as the Secretary General of the International Glaciological Society.

Dr Ommanney was committed to the science of glaciology, devoting his academic life and career in England and Canada, and continuing to advance the discipline during his retirement.

Our thoughts are with his family at this time.

# Deep channels link ocean to vulnerable West Antarctic glacier

James Kirkham

Newly-discovered deep seabed channels beneath Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica may be the pathway for warm ocean water to melt the underside of the ice.

Researchers from UK and US International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration, including James Kirkham from SPRI, collected data from offshore of the glacier during January-March 2019 aboard the icebreaker the RV Nathaniel B Palmer.

Exceptional sea-ice break up in early 2019 enabled the team to survey over 2000 square kilometres of sea floor right in front of the glacier — an area which had previously been hidden beneath part of the floating ice shelf extending from Thwaites Glacier.

The team's findings reveal that the sea floor contains deep channels leading under the ice shelf towards the grounding line which may provide pathways along which warm water can reach the underside of Thwaites Glacier, causing it to melt and contribute to global sea-level rise.

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# Past subglacial water flow beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet

James Kirkham

A new paper by James Kirkham, Julian Dowdeswell and others has used two decades of multibeam bathymetric data to explore the meltwater drainage imprint left by the Antarctic Ice Sheet in the past.

High-resolution maps of seabed areas previously covered by ice reveal over 2700 channels carved by subglacial rivers of meltwater flowing beneath the ice sheet.

The seafloor channels are extremely large (up to 3 km wide and over 200 m deep) and inform us about processes that are difficult to observe beneath the modern day ice sheet, and which occur over timescales much longer than covered by existing glaciological observations. The authors conclude that the channels were most likely incised by the periodic drainage of subglacial lakes over multiple glacial cycles.

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# SPRI building closure update

The Scott Polar Research Institute is currently closed to the public due to COVID-19 restrictions, but is now open to staff on a limited basis for essential research and teaching activity.

Our Polar Museum and library remain closed to the public. We look forward to welcoming you back to our public spaces; however, our first priority continues to be the safety of staff and visitors. We will only reopen to the public when all necessary safety measures are in place.

Please follow our Twitter and Facebook accounts, and this website, for further updates and news on our reopening.

# Undergraduate Open Days 17 & 18 September

Find out more about studying Undergraduate Geography at Cambridge at the online Undergraduate Open days 17-18th September.

Sign up to attend.

# Course changes 2020-21

Due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and government guidance, we have had to make some changes to some elements of our teaching programmes for 2020-21 in order to mitigate against risks to health and to give students the best possible academic experience in the circumstances. We will continue to monitor and respond to the changing public health situation.

Please follow these links for further information regarding our MPhil:

# Lateral Meltwater Transfer Across an Antarctic Ice-Shelf

A new paper 'Lateral meltwater transfer across an Antarctic ice shelf', co-authored by Rebecca Dell, Ian Willis, Neil Arnold, Alison Banwell & Andrew Williamson, and published in The Cryosphere demonstrates methods to track surface meltwater across Antarctic ice shelves. The team developed a semi-automated method that allows them to track surface water bodies across Antarctic ice shelves, providing information on the area, volume, and geometry of water bodies throughout a melt-season. The method was applied to Nivlisen Ice Shelf in East Antarctica, and results revealed two large linear water bodies, which migrated towards the front of the ice shelf as the melt season progressed.

# Ian Stone

Colleagues and Friends will be saddened to hear of the passing of Ian Stone, Emeritus Associate of the Scott Polar Research Institute. Ian was editor of the Polar Record for more than ten years (2006-16) and was a great champion for the Institute. He did a superb job in terms of both the quality of articles published in Polar Record and also in increasing the number and breadth of contributions. Our sympathy goes to his family.

# PhD students shortlisted for Glaciology award

Former SPRI PhD students, Andrew Williamson and Tun Jan Young, supervised by Neil Arnold, Alison Banwell, Poul Christoffersen and Ian Willis, were shortlisted for the 2020 IACS-IGS Graham Cogley Award "for their excellent papers published in the Journal of Glaciology over the past two years".

From approximately 70 student-authored papers in the Journal of Glaciology and Annals of Glaciology eligible for the 2020 award, the committee shortlisted nine papers from five countries.

Their papers use novel satellite remote sensing methods and field-based radar techniques to investigate hydrological and dynamic processes on the Greenland Ice Sheet.

Williamson, A., Willis, I., Arnold, N., & Banwell, A. (2018). Controls on rapid supraglacial lake drainage in West Greenland: An Exploratory Data Analysis approach. Journal of Glaciology, 64(244), 208-226.

Tun Jan Young: Young, T., Schroeder, D., Christoffersen, P., Lok, L., Nicholls, K., Brennan, P., Doyle, S.H., Hubbard, B. & Hubbard, A. (2018). Resolving the internal and basal geometry of ice masses using imaging phase-sensitive radar. Journal of Glaciology, 64(246), 649-660.

The IACS-IGS Graham Cogley Award was established in 2019 in memory of Professor Graham Cogley who made substantial and enduring contributions to glaciology. The award recognizes excellence in glaciological research by student scientists. The award is shared between the International Association of Cryospheric Sciences (IACS) and the International Glaciological Society, with the IACS and IGS giving out the award in alternate years.

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