UC4The Cryosphere and its interactions with the climate system
|Convener: Renato R. Colucci | Co-Conveners: Florence Colleoni , Barbara Stenni|
This session invites contributions to discuss all the aspects of the cryosphere interacting with the climate system, at various time scales and from both modelling and observational point of view and addressing past, present and future variability. The cryosphere represents one of the Earth system compartments' surface portion where links to the climate system are particularly strong. Mountain glaciers, ice caps, ice sheets, permafrost and permanent ice deposits in caves interact with the climate system with response time from days to millennia and all such components are showing signs of dramatic changes due to climate forcing. Ice caps and mountain glaciers represent the main contributors to sea level changes, and affect the hydrology of vaste areas in the world. Ice sheets interacting with climate cause changes in atmospheric and ocean circulation, sea level, albedo, vegetation and several related feedbacks. Permafrost feedbacks have implications on natural hazards especially in the geomorphology of coastal and mountain areas, and its feedbacks related to methane release will very likely have great impact in the future under climate changes. Permanent ice deposits in karstic caves are probably the lesser known as well as the smallest part of the earth’s cryosphere, but it has been shown recently they can store important palaeoenvironmental information. Understanding the precipitation in Polar Regions and the interaction of the snow surface with the atmosphere is crucial for interpreting the proxy records archived in polar ice caps. In such perspective, estimating the response of the current continental cryosphere to ongoing climate changes as well as the response of climate to changes in the cryosphere extent and topography relies on the understanding of the climate-cryosphere feedbacks and their evolution through time from millennial to decadal time scale. The combination of multiple approaches, i.e. observations, past records and numerical modelling, allows advancing the current knowledge of the feedbacks between the cryosphere and the other components of the climate system.