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Read science articles on the ice age, glaciation and climatology. Discover the connection between ice ages and global warming.
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Almost alien: Antarctic subglacial lakes are cold, dark and full of secrets

Wed, 03/04/2020 - 13:14
More than half of the planet's fresh water is in Antarctica. While most of it is frozen in the ice sheets, underneath the ice pools and streams of water flow into one another and into the Southern Ocean surrounding the continent. Understanding the movement of this water, and what is dissolved in it as solutes, reveals how carbon and nutrients from the land may support life in the coastal ocean.

Ancient Australian trees face uncertain future under climate change, study finds

Tue, 03/03/2020 - 13:01
Tasmania's ancient rainforest faces a grim future as a warming climate and the way people used the land have brought significant changes to the island state off mainland Australia's southeastern coast, according to a new study.

New version of Earth model captures climate dynamics

Tue, 03/03/2020 - 10:33
A new high-resolution Earth systems model has been designed to predict climate trends into the next century. The model will provide the scientific basis by which to mitigate the effects of extreme climate on energy and other essential services.

Geologists determine early Earth was a 'water world' by studying exposed ocean crust

Mon, 03/02/2020 - 11:24
Geologists have studied exposed, 3.2-billion-year-old ocean crust in Australia and used that rock data to build a quantitative, inverse model of ancient seawater. The model indicates the early Earth could have been a 'water world' with submerged continents.

Study shows rapid sea level rise along Atlantic coast of North America in 18th century

Fri, 02/28/2020 - 09:22
Sea levels along a stretch of the Atlantic coast of North America in the 18th century were rising almost as fast as in the 20th century, a new study has revealed.

Antarctic ice walls protect the climate

Thu, 02/27/2020 - 10:45
Inland Antarctic ice contains volumes of water that can raise global sea levels by several meters. A new study shows that glacier ice walls are vital for the climate, as they prevent rising ocean temperatures and melting glacier ice.

Freshwater flowing into the North Pacific plays key role in North America's climate

Wed, 02/26/2020 - 13:54
Massive freshwater river flows stemming from glacier-fed flooding at the end of the last ice age surged across eastern Washington to the Columbia River and out to the North Pacific Ocean, where they triggered climate changes throughout the northern hemisphere.

Complex pattern of ancient immigration from Africa, Asia and Europe

Wed, 02/26/2020 - 08:54
Anthropologists have found out that prehistoric migration from Africa, Asia and Europe to the Mediterranean islands took place long before the era of the Mediterranean seafaring civilizations. For their analysis they used the DNA of prehistoric individuals from Sicily, Sardinia and the Balearic Islands.

Shrinking sea ice is creating an ecological trap for polar bears

Tue, 02/25/2020 - 11:50
The decision of each individual bear to stay on the ice or to move to land appears to be linked to the energetic cost or benefit of either option, and the potential of having to swim to reach land.

Glacier algae creates dark zone at the margins of the Greenland Ice Sheet

Tue, 02/25/2020 - 10:44
New research has revealed new insights into how the microscopic algae that thrives along the edge of the Greenland Ice Sheet causes widespread darkening.

DNA from ancient packrat nests helps unpack Earth's past

Thu, 02/20/2020 - 13:17
New work shows how using next-generation DNA sequencing on ancient packrat middens -- nests made out of plant material, fragments of insects, bones, fecal matter, and urine -- could provide ecological snapshots of Earth's past. The study may pave the way for scientists to better understand how plant communities -- and possibly animals, bacteria, and fungi as well -- will respond to human-caused climate change.

Old carbon reservoirs unlikely to cause massive greenhouse gas release, study finds

Thu, 02/20/2020 - 13:17
As global temperatures rise, permafrost and methane hydrates -- large reservoirs of ancient carbon -- have the potential to break down, releasing enormous quantities of the potent greenhouse gas methane. But would this methane actually reach the atmosphere? Researchers found that even if methane is released from these natural stores in response to warming, very little reaches the atmosphere; therefore, anthropogenic emissions should be more concerning than these natural feedbacks.

Huge stores of Arctic sea ice likely contributed to past climate cooling

Thu, 02/20/2020 - 12:05
Climate scientists propose that massive amounts of melting sea ice in the Arctic drained into the North Atlantic and disrupted climate-steering currents, thus playing an important role in causing past abrupt climate change after the last Ice Age, from about 8,000 to 13,000 years ago.

Methane emitted by humans vastly underestimated

Wed, 02/19/2020 - 10:37
Researchers measured methane levels in ancient air samples and found that scientists have been vastly underestimating the amount of methane humans are emitting into the atmosphere via fossil fuels. The researchers indicate that reducing fossil fuel use is a key target in curbing climate change.

Earth's glacial cycles enhanced by Antarctic sea-ice

Tue, 02/18/2020 - 09:47
A 784,000 year climate simulation suggests that Southern Ocean sea ice significantly reduces deep ocean ventilation to the atmosphere during glacial periods by reducing both atmospheric exposure of surface waters and vertical mixing of deep ocean waters; in a global carbon cycle model, these effects led to a 40 ppm reduction in atmospheric CO2 during glacial periods relative to pre-industrial level, suggesting how sea ice can drive carbon sequestration early within a glacial cycle.

Mediterranean rainfall immediately affected by greenhouse gas changes

Mon, 02/17/2020 - 15:23
Mediterranean-type climates face immediate drops in rainfall when greenhouse gases rise, but this could be interrupted quickly if emissions are cut.

The Antarctica factor: Model uncertainties reveal upcoming sea level risk

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 07:49
Within this century already, due to Antarctica alone global sea level might rise up to three times as much as it did in the last century. This is a finding of an exceptionally comprehensive comparison of state-of-the-art computer models from around the world.

Polar bears in Baffin Bay skinnier, having fewer cubs due to less sea ice

Wed, 02/12/2020 - 09:30
Satellite tracking of adult females and visual monitoring of polar bears in Baffin Bay show changes from the 1990s to the period from 2009 to 2015. Bears in Baffin Bay are getting thinner and adult females are having fewer cubs than when sea ice was more available.

Ancient Antarctic ice melt increased sea levels by 3+ meters -- and it could happen again

Tue, 02/11/2020 - 15:48
Rising ocean temperatures drove the melting of Antarctic ice sheets and caused extreme sea level rise more than 100,000 years ago, a new international study l shows - and the scientists say we're headed in that direction again.

Climate change could trigger more landslides in High Mountain Asia

Tue, 02/11/2020 - 11:15
More frequent and intense rainfall events due to climate change could cause more landslides in the High Mountain Asia region of China, Tibet and Nepal, according to the first quantitative study of the link between precipitation and landslides in the region.