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Read science articles on the ice age, glaciation and climatology. Discover the connection between ice ages and global warming.
Updated: 1 hour 22 min ago

West Antarctic ice collapse may be prevented by snowing ocean water onto it

Wed, 07/17/2019 - 13:27
The ice sheet covering West Antarctica is at risk of sliding off into the ocean. While further ice-sheet destabilisation in other parts of the continent may be limited by a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the slow, yet inexorable loss of West Antarctic ice is likely to continue even after climate warming is stabilised. A collapse might take hundreds of years but will raise sea levels worldwide by more than three meters.

Tracking down climate change with radar eyes

Tue, 07/16/2019 - 08:55
Over the past 22 years, sea levels in the Arctic have risen an average of 2.2 millimeters per year. This is the conclusion of a research team after evaluating 1.5 billion radar measurements of various satellites using specially developed algorithms.

A material way to make Mars habitable

Mon, 07/15/2019 - 10:42
New research suggest that regions of the Martian surface could be made habitable with a material -- silica aerogel -- that mimics Earth's atmospheric greenhouse effect. Through modeling and experiments, the researchers show that a 2- to 3-centimeter-thick shield of silica aerogel could transmit enough visible light for photosynthesis, block hazardous ultraviolet radiation, and raise temperatures underneath permanently above the melting point of water, all without the need for any internal heat source.

Super salty, subzero Arctic water provides peek at possible life on other planets

Fri, 07/12/2019 - 09:57
Researchers have discovered thriving communities of bacteria in Alaskan 'cryopegs,' trapped layers of sediment with water so salty that it remains liquid at below-freezing temperatures. The setting may be similar to environments on Mars, Saturn's moon Titan, or other bodies farther from the sun.

Researchers discover ice is sliding toward edges off Greenland Ice Sheet

Wed, 07/10/2019 - 14:18
Ice on the Greenland Ice Sheet doesn't just melt. The ice actually slides rapidly across its bed toward the ice sheet's edges. As a result, because ice motion is from sliding as opposed to ice deformation, ice is being moved to the high-melt marginal zones more rapidly than previously thought.

A clearer picture of global ice sheet mass

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 08:11
Fluctuations in the masses of the world's largest ice sheets carry important consequences for future sea level rise, but understanding the complicated interplay of atmospheric conditions, snowfall input and melting processes has never been easy to measure due to the sheer size and remoteness inherent to glacial landscapes.

Paris Agreement does not rule out ice-free Arctic

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 08:11
A research team reveals a considerable chance for an ice-free Arctic Ocean at global warming limits stipulated in the Paris Agreement.

Lead pollution in Arctic ice shows economic impact of wars and plagues for past 1,500 years

Mon, 07/08/2019 - 14:40
A research team used 13 ice cores from Greenland and the Russian Arctic to measure, date, and analyze lead emissions captured in ice from 500 to 2010 CE. They found that increases in lead concentration in the ice cores track closely with periods of expansion in Europe, the advent of new technologies, and economic prosperity. Decreases in lead, on the other hand, paralleled climate disruptions, wars, plagues, and famines.

Cave secrets unlocked to show past drought and rainfall patterns

Mon, 07/08/2019 - 11:23
Global trends in cave waters identify how stalagmites reveal past rainfall and drought patterns.

Grazing animals drove domestication of grain crops

Mon, 07/08/2019 - 10:24
During the Pleistocene, massive herds directed the ecology across much of the globe and caused evolutionary changes in plants. Studies of the ecology and growing habits of certain ancient crop relatives indicate that megafaunal herds were necessary for the dispersal of their seeds prior to human intervention. Understanding this process is providing insights into the early domestication of these plants.

Snow algae thrive in high-elevation ice spires, an unlikely oasis for life

Mon, 07/08/2019 - 07:43
High in the Andes Mountains, dagger-shaped ice spires house thriving microbial communities, offering an oasis for life in one of Earth's harshest environments as well as a possible analogue for life on other planets.

More 'reactive' land surfaces cooled the Earth down

Wed, 07/03/2019 - 12:40
In a new study, researchers show that a paradigm on a global temperature drop that started around 15 million years ago cannot be upheld. With the help of a computer model they explain the Earth's cooling with an increased 'reactivity' of the land surface that has led to a decrease in CO2 in the atmosphere, reducing the Earth's natural green house effect.

New model suggests lost continents for early Earth

Mon, 07/01/2019 - 13:45
A new radioactivity model of Earth's ancient rocks calls into question current models for the formation of Earth's continental crust, suggesting continents may have risen out of the sea much earlier than previously thought but were destroyed, leaving little trace.

New measurements shed light on the impact of water temperatures on glacier calving

Mon, 07/01/2019 - 13:45
Calving, or the breaking off of icebergs from glaciers, has increased at many glaciers along the west coast of Svalbard. Now, researchers have shown that, whilst subsurface water temperatures are the most important driver of frontal mass loss, they are not as important as previously thought.

How to produce natural gas while storing carbon dioxide

Thu, 06/27/2019 - 10:41
New research shows that injecting air and carbon dioxide into methane ice deposits buried beneath the Gulf of Mexico could unlock vast natural gas energy resources while helping fight climate change by trapping the carbon dioxide underground.

Climate impact of clouds made from airplane contrails may triple by 2050

Thu, 06/27/2019 - 10:39
In the right conditions, airplane contrails can linger in the sky as contrail cirrus -- ice clouds that can trap heat inside the atmosphere. Their climate impact has been largely neglected in schemes to offset aviation emissions, even though contrail cirrus have contributed more to warming than all CO2 emitted by aircraft since the start of aviation. A new Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics study found that the climate impact of contrail cirrus will triple by 2050.

The water future of Earth's 'third pole'

Wed, 06/26/2019 - 12:37
One-seventh of the world's population depends on rivers flowing from Asia's high mountain ranges for water to drink and to irrigate crops. Rapid changes in the region's climate are likely to influence food and water security in India, Pakistan, China and other nations. NASA keeps a space-based eye on changes like these worldwide to better understand the future of our planet's water cycle.

Unlocking secrets of the ice worm

Wed, 06/26/2019 - 11:50
Researchers have identified an ice worm on Vancouver Island that is closely related to ice worms 1,200 miles away in southern Alaska. The researchers believe the genetic intermingling is the result of birds carrying the glacier-bound worms (or their eggs) up and down the west coast.

More than 50 newly discovered lakes beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet

Wed, 06/26/2019 - 11:49
Researchers have discovered 56 previously uncharted subglacial lakes beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet bringing the total known number of lakes to 60. Although these lakes are typically smaller than similar lakes in Antarctica, their discovery demonstrates that lakes beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet are much more common than previously thought.

Clouds dominate uncertainties in predicting future Greenland melt

Mon, 06/24/2019 - 10:15
New research suggests that the representation of clouds in climate models is as, or more, important than the amount of greenhouse gas emissions when it comes to projecting future Greenland ice sheet melt.