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Read science articles on the ice age, glaciation and climatology. Discover the connection between ice ages and global warming.
Updated: 26 min 24 sec ago

Over a century of Arctic sea ice volume reconstructed with help from historic ships' logs

Thu, 08/08/2019 - 12:35
A new study provides a 110-year record of the total volume of Arctic sea ice, using early US ships' voyages to verify the earlier part of the record. The current sea ice volume and rate of loss are unprecedented in the 110-year record.

Earth's last magnetic field reversal took far longer than once thought

Thu, 08/08/2019 - 08:14
Every several hundred thousand years or so, Earth's magnetic field dramatically shifts and reverses its polarity. Geologist found that the most recent field reversal, some 770,000 years ago, took at least 22,000 years to complete. That's several times longer than previously thought, and the results further call into question controversial findings that some reversals could occur within a human lifetime.

Ancient plankton help researchers predict near-future climate

Thu, 08/01/2019 - 11:01
Temperature data inferred from plankton fossils from the Pliocene, an era with CO2 levels similar to today's, allowed a team to rectify discrepancies between climate models and other proxy temperature measurements.

Krypton reveals ancient water beneath the Israeli desert

Wed, 07/31/2019 - 11:54
Getting reliable precipitation data from the past has proven difficult, as is predicting regional changes for climate models in the present. A combination of isotope techniques may help resolve both.

Underwater glacial melting is occurring at higher rates than modeling predicts

Thu, 07/25/2019 - 14:04
Researchers have developed a new method to allow for the first direct measurement of the submarine melt rate of a tidewater glacier, and, in doing so, they concluded that current theoretical models may be underestimating glacial melt by up to two orders of magnitude.

Volcanoes shaped the climate before humankind

Wed, 07/24/2019 - 12:36
Five large volcanic eruptions occurred in the early 19th century. They caused cooling and -- as a new study shows -- to drying in the monsoon regions and glaciers growing in the Alps. The study shows that the pre-industrial climate was not constant: if one takes this cold period as the starting point for current global warming, the climate has already warmed up more than assumed in the current discussions.

Causes of multidecadal climate changes

Wed, 07/24/2019 - 12:16
A new reconstruction of global average surface temperature change over the past 2,000 years has identified the main causes for decade-scale climate changes. The new temperature reconstruction also largely agrees with climate model simulations of the same time period. This suggests that current climate models accurately represent the contributions of various influences on global climate change -- and are capable of correctly predicting future climate warming.

Climate is warming faster than it has in the last 2,000 years

Wed, 07/24/2019 - 12:16
In contrast to pre-industrial climate fluctuations, current, anthropogenic climate change is occurring across the whole world at the same time, according to new studies. In addition, the speed of global warming is higher than it has been in at least 2,000 years.

Robots roaming in Antarctic waters reveal why Ross Ice Shelf melts rapidly in summer

Mon, 07/22/2019 - 14:52
A new study reveals how local factors influence the Ross Ice Shelf's stability, refining predictions of how it will change and influence sea rise in the future.

Geoscientists discover mechanisms controlling Greenland ice sheet collapse

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 12:55
New radar technology allowed geoscientists to look at Greenland's dynamic ice-ocean interface that drives sea level rise.

Strong storms also play big role in Antarctic ice shelf collapse

Thu, 07/18/2019 - 15:48
Warming temperatures and changes in ocean circulation and salinity are driving the breakup of ice sheets in Antarctica, but a new study suggests that intense storms may help push the system over the edge.

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.