Week in review – science edition

by Judith Curry, April 14, 2019 in ClimateEtc.

A few things that caught my eye this past few weeks.

Why did the trend of loss accelerate after about 2000?” Meehl et al. (2018) offer an explanation.

Antarctica’s iceberg graveyard could reveal the ice sheet’s future. [link]

Latif: Decadal Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation slowing events in a climate model [link]

Koutsoyiannis: Extreme-oriented selection and fitting of probability distributions. [link]

Strengthened linkage between midlatitudes and Arctic in boreal winter [link]

Scientists discover evidence of long ocean memory [link]

Less ice in Arctic Ocean 6000-7000 years ago [link]

We now know how insects and bacteria control ice

by University of Utah, April 14, 2019 in WUWT

Proteins help organisms form or inhibit ice crystals

Contrary to what you may have been taught, water doesn’t always freeze to ice at 32 degrees F (zero degrees C). Knowing, or controlling, at what temperature water will freeze (starting with a process called nucleation) is critically important to answering questions such as whether or not there will be enough snow on the ski slopes or whether or not it will rain tomorrow.

Nature has come up with ways to control the formation of ice, though, and in a paper published today in the Journal of the American Chemical Society University of Utah professor Valeria Molinero and her colleagues show how key proteins produced in bacteria and insects can either promote or inhibit the formation of ice, based on their length and their ability to team up to form large ice-binding surfaces. The results have wide application, particularly in understanding precipitation in clouds.

“We’re now able to predict the temperature at which the bacterium is going to nucleate ice depending on how many ice-nucleating proteins it has,” Molinero says, “and we’re able to predict the temperature at which the antifreeze proteins, which are very small and typically don’t work at very low temperatures, can nucleate ice.”