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Global Environmental Change

Global Environmental Change addresses large-scale chemical, biological, geological, and physical perturbations of the Earth’s surface, ocean, land surface, and hydrologic cycle with special attention to time scales of decades to centuries, to human-caused perturbations and their impacts on society.

Source: Global environmental change. (n.d.). AGU (American Geophysical Union).


Tuvalu: The Threat of Rising Seas

The inhabitants of this tiny nation state are some of the first in the world to feel the full impact of climate change. As rising sea levels threaten their whole country, what action can they take?


Climate Zones
What makes one region of Earth so dry, and another so wet? And what impact does this have on landscapes, wildlife and weather?


The Water Cycle
All water on planet Earth is constantly cycled from the atmosphere, into reservoirs, and through plants and animals. The Earth's water has completed this cycle around 8 million times.


Video: Antarctic Ice Mass Loss 2002-2020
April 1, 2021

The Antarctic ice sheet's mass has changed over the last decades. Research based on satellite data indicates that between 2002 and 2020, Antarctica shed an average of 149 billion metric tons of ice per year, adding to global sea level rise.

These images, created from GRACE and GRACE-FO data, show changes in Antarctic ice mass since 2002. Orange and red shades indicate areas that lost ice mass, while light blue shades indicate areas that gained ice mass. White indicates areas where there has been very little or no change in ice mass since 2002.

Areas in East Antarctica experienced modest amounts of mass gain due to increased snow accumulation. However, this gain is more than offset by significant ice mass loss on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (dark red) over the 19-year period. Floating ice shelves whose mass change GRACE and GRACE-FO do not measure are colored gray.

The average flow lines (gray; created from satellite radar interferometry) of Antarctica’s ice converge into the locations of prominent outlet glaciers, and coincide with areas of highest mass loss (i.e., Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers in West-Antarctica). This supports other observations that warming ocean waters around Antarctica play a key role in contemporary ice mass loss.



Created by Luciana Cavallaro July 2021 | Updated December 2022