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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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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.

Scientists map huge undersea fresh-water aquifer off U.S. Northeast

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 13:03
In a new survey of the sub-seafloor off the U.S. Northeast coast, scientists have made a surprising discovery: a gigantic aquifer of relatively fresh water trapped in porous sediments lying below the salty ocean. It appears to be the largest such formation yet found in the world.

Do ice cores help to unravel the clouds of climate history?

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 14:56
For the first time, an international research team has investigated atmospheric ice nucleating particles (INPs) in ice cores, which can provide insights on the type of cloud cover in the Arctic over the last 500 years. These INPs play an important role in the formation of ice in clouds and thus have a major influence on the climate.

Melting of Himalayan glaciers has doubled in recent years

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 13:25
A newly comprehensive study shows that melting of Himalayan glaciers caused by rising temperatures has accelerated dramatically since the start of the 21st century.

New research shows an iceless Greenland may be in our future

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 13:25
New research shows that Greenland may be ice-free by the year 3000. This research uses new data on the landscape under the ice to make breakthroughs in modeling the island's future. The findings show if greenhouse gas concentrations remain on their current path, the melting ice from Greenland alone could contribute as much as 24 feet to global sea level rise by the time it disappears.

New evidence shows rapid response in the West Greenland landscape to Arctic climate shifts

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 08:48
Evidence from an Arctic ecosystem experiencing rapid climate change reveals surprisingly tight coupling of environmental responses to climate shifts. Links between abrupt climate change and environmental response have long been considered delayed or dampened by internal ecosystem dynamics, or only strong when climate shifts are large in magnitude. The research team presents evidence that climate shifts of even moderate magnitude can rapidly force strong, pervasive environmental changes across a high-latitude system.

Crocs' climate clock: Ancient distribution of Crocs could reveal more about past climates

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 07:56
Underneath their tough exteriors, some crocodilians have a sensitive side that scientists could use to shine light on our ancient climate.

New study shows how environmental disruptions affected ancient societies

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 11:35
A new study shows that over the past 10,000 years, humanity has experienced a number of foundational transitions, or 'bottlenecks.' During these periods of transition, the advance or decline of societies was related to energy availability in the form of a benign climate and other factors.

New insight from Great Barrier Reef coral provides correction factor to climate records

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 11:35
Newly developed geological techniques help uncover the most accurate and high-resolution climate records to date, according to a new study. The research finds that the standard practice of using modern and fossil coral to measure sea-surface temperatures may not be as straightforward as originally thought. By combining high-resolution microscopic techniques and geochemical modeling, researchers are using the formational history of Porites coral skeletons to fine-tune the records used to make global climate predictions.

Leaving microbes out of climate change conversation has major consequences, experts warn

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 10:31
Leading microbiologists have issued a warning, saying that not including microbes -- the support system of the biosphere -- in the climate change equation will have major negative flow-on effects.