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Read science articles on the ice age, glaciation and climatology. Discover the connection between ice ages and global warming.
Updated: 2 hours 53 min ago

Meteorology meets metrology: Climate research high up in the clouds

Tue, 12/02/2014 - 07:23
Barely has the research aircraft HALO entered the kilometer-high clouds towering above the Brazilian rainforest than the researchers find themselves in a complete haze, but they can rely on the measuring instruments that are working at full capacity. HAI – a new, highly accurate hygrometer – is aboard. The shooting star among hygrometers has been developed only recently by metrologists (metrology = the science of measurement) especially for use on board aircraft and in the clouds, but it has already been used in four research campaigns and has already clocked up more than 300 hours of active use. It is the only device worldwide that can determine precisely and simultaneously how much of the water present in the atmosphere is in the form of vapour, condensation, droplets or ice.

Most ancient pinworm yet found was infected with parasitic nematodes

Mon, 12/01/2014 - 15:33
Discovery of 240 million-year-old pinworm egg confirms that herbivorous cynodonts -- the ancestors of mammals -- were infected with the parasitic nematodes.

American mastodons made warm Arctic, subarctic temporary home 125,000 years ago: Local extinction long before human colonization

Mon, 12/01/2014 - 15:32
Existing age estimates of American mastodon fossils indicate that these extinct relatives of elephants lived in the Arctic and Subarctic when the area was covered by ice caps -- a chronology that is at odds with what scientists know about the massive animals' preferred habitat: forests and wetlands abundant with leafy food. Now, scientists are revising fossil age estimates and suggesting that the north was only a temporary home to mastodons when the climate was warm.

Emergence of modern sea ice in Arctic Ocean, 2.6 million years ago

Fri, 11/28/2014 - 07:06
The extent of sea ice cover in Arctic was much less than it is today between four and five million years ago. The maximum winter extent did not reaching its current location until around 2.6 million years ago. "We have not seen an ice free period in the Arctic Ocean for 2,6 million years. However, we may see it in our lifetime." says a marine geologist.

Arctic conditions may become critical for polar bears by end of 21st century

Wed, 11/26/2014 - 13:42
Shifts in the timing and duration of ice cover, especially the possible lengthening of ice-free periods, may impact polar bears under projected warming before the end of the 21st century, experts say.

Better forecasts for sea ice under climate change: Effect of waves

Tue, 11/25/2014 - 19:54
New research is helping pinpoint the impact of waves on sea ice, which is vulnerable to climate change, particularly in the Arctic where it is rapidly retreating. Scientists report the first laboratory experiments testing theoretical models of wave activity in frozen oceans.

Underwater robot sheds new light on thick, deformed, Antarctic sea ice

Mon, 11/24/2014 - 11:53
The first detailed, high-resolution 3-D maps of Antarctic sea ice have been developed using an underwater robot. Scientists say the new technology provides accurate ice thickness measurements from areas that were previously too difficult to access.

Time-lapse photos and synched weather data unlock Antarctic secrets

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 17:36
Researchers are using time-lapse photography, linked to weather data, to study climate and geological change in the Antarctic Dry Valleys.

Salinity counts when it comes to sea level

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 12:34
Using ocean observations and a large suite of climate models, scientists have found that long-term salinity changes have a stronger influence on regional sea level changes than previously thought.

Cut the salt: Green solutions for highway snow, ice control

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 08:17
Ice-free pavement. 'Smart snowplows.' Vegetable juice ice-melt. Cold-climate researchers are clearing the road with green alternatives to the salt, sand and chemicals typically used for highway snow and ice control.

Permafrost soil: Possible source of abrupt rise in greenhouse gases at end of last ice age

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 07:23
Scientists have identified a possible source of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that were abruptly released to the atmosphere in large quantities around 14,600 years ago.

Laser from a plane discovers Roman goldmines in Spain

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 07:21
Hidden under the vegetation and crops of the Eria Valley, in León (Spain), there is a gold mining network created by the Romans two thousand years ago, as well as complex hydraulic works, such as river diversions, to divert water to the mines of the precious metal. Researchers made the discovery from the air with an airborne laser teledetection system.

Wild weather in the Arctic causes problems for people and wildlife

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 19:45
The residents of Longyearbyen, the largest town on the Norwegian arctic island archipelago of Svalbard, remember it as the week that the weather gods caused trouble.  Temperatures were ridiculously warm – and reached a maximum of nearly +8 degrees C in one location at a time when mean temperatures are normally -15 degrees C. It rained in record amounts.

Little Ice Age was global: Implications for current global warming

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 19:45
Researchers have shed new light on the climate of the Little Ice Age, and rekindled debate over the role of the sun in climate change. The new study, which involved detailed scientific examination of a peat bog in southern South America, indicates that the most extreme climate episodes of the Little Ice Age were felt not just in Europe and North America, which is well known, but apparently globally. The research has implications for current concerns over ‘Global Warming’.

'Fountain of youth' underlies Antarctic mountains: Why peaks buried in ice look so young

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 09:20
Scientists have now explained why the ice-covered Gamburtsev Mountains in the middle of Antarctica looks as young as they do.

Surviving an ice age: Mammals didn't play by the rules of modeling on where they migrated to survive last ice age

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 14:32
Leave it to long-dead short-tailed shrew and flying squirrels to outfox climate-modelers trying to predict future habitats. Evidence from the fossil record shows that gluttonous insect-eating shrew didn't live where a species distribution technique drawn by biologists put it 20,000 years ago to survive the reach of glaciers. The shrew is not alone.

Jurassic climate of large swath of western U.S. was more complex than previously known: Unexpected abrupt change from arid to wet

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 11:54
Climate over a large swath of the western US was more complex during the Jurassic than previously known, according to new research. Instead of a gradual transition from dry to wetter, chemical analysis of ancient soils reveals an unexpected abrupt change, say paleontologists. Samples were from the Morrison Formation, a massive rock unit sprawling across 13 states and Canada that's produced significant dinosaur discoveries for over 100 years.

Climate change was not to blame for the collapse of the Bronze Age

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 15:41
Scientists will have to find alternative explanations for a huge population collapse in Europe at the end of the Bronze Age as researchers prove definitively that climate change -- commonly assumed to be responsible -- could not have been the culprit.

Tillage shows very little impact on carbon sequestration

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 08:31
Reducing or eliminating tillage is one of the farming practices most frequently touted to improve carbon sequestration in soil. A new study turns this paradigm on its head. This study, the result of a rigorous experiment conducted in the Ile-de-France region, shows that after a period of 41 years, three tillage methods led to similar carbon sequestration outcomes. However, variations were apparent over time based on climate conditions.

Climate capers of the past 600,000 years

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 07:46
If you want to see into the future, you have to understand the past. Researchers have drilled deposits on the bed of Lake Van (Eastern Turkey) which provide unique insights into the last 600,000 years. The samples reveal that the climate has done its fair share of mischief-making in the past. Furthermore, there have been numerous earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The results of the drilling project also provide a basis for assessing the risk of how dangerous natural hazards are for today's population.