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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 51 min ago

Retracing Antarctica's glacial past

Tue, 09/25/2018 - 13:04
More than 26,000 years ago, sea level was much lower than it is today partly because the ice sheets that jut out from the continent of Antarctica were enormous and covered by grounded ice -- ice that was fully attached to the seafloor. As the planet warmed, the ice sheets melted and contracted, and sea level began to rise. Researchers have discovered new information that illuminates how and when this global phenomenon occurred.

Astronomers use Earth's natural history as guide to spot vegetation on new worlds

Mon, 09/24/2018 - 16:44
By looking at Earth's full natural history and evolution, astronomers may have found a template for vegetation fingerprints -- borrowing from epochs of changing flora -- to determine the age of habitable exoplanets.

National parks bear the brunt of climate change

Mon, 09/24/2018 - 08:16
Human-caused climate change has exposed US national parks to conditions hotter and drier than the rest of the nation, says a new study quantifying for the first time the magnitude of climate change on all 417 parks in the system. Without action to limit greenhouse gas emissions, many small mammals and plants may be brought to the brink of extinction by the end of the century, the study shows.

Glacial engineering could limit sea-level rise, if we get our emissions under control

Thu, 09/20/2018 - 09:21
Targeted engineering projects to hold off glacier melting could slow down ice-sheet collapse and limit sea-level rise, according to a new study. While an intervention similar in size to existing large civil engineering projects could only have a 30 percent chance of success, a larger project would have better odds of holding off ice-sheet collapse. But the researchers caution that reducing emissions still remains key to stopping climate change and its dramatic effects.

Scientists identify three causes of Earth's spin axis drift

Wed, 09/19/2018 - 18:59
Using observational and model-based data spanning the entire 20th century, scientists have for the first time have identified three broadly-categorized processes responsible for Earth's spin axis drift -- contemporary mass loss primarily in Greenland, glacial rebound, and mantle convection.

Unprecedented ice loss in Russian ice cap

Wed, 09/19/2018 - 13:49
In the last few years, the Vavilov Ice Cap in the Russian High Arctic has dramatically accelerated, sliding as much as 82 feet a day in 2015, according to a new multi-national, multi-institute study. That dwarfs the ice's previous average speed of about 2 inches per day and has challenged scientists' assumptions about the stability of the cold ice caps dotting Earth's high latitudes.

Moderate warming could melt East Antarctic Ice Sheet

Wed, 09/19/2018 - 12:30
Parts of the world's largest ice sheet would melt if Antarctic warming of just 2°C is sustained for millennia, according to international research. Scientists used evidence from warm periods in Earth's history to see how the East Antarctic Ice Sheet might react to a warming climate.

Natural climate oscillations in north Atlantic linked to Greenland ice sheet melt

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 10:08
Scientists have known for years that warming global climate is melting the Greenland Ice Sheet, the second largest ice sheet in the world. A new study, however, shows that the rate of melting might be temporarily increased or decreased by two existing climate patterns: the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO).

Searching for clues on extreme climate change

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 07:20
Nearly 13,000 years ago, pines in southern France experienced a cold snap, which scientists have now reconstructed. The study about the consequences of a drastic climate change event in past and its implications for our future.

More ships and more clouds mean cooling in the arctic

Mon, 09/17/2018 - 14:36
Researchers recently modeled the future of trans-Arctic shipping routes and found that the accompanying increase in emissions may offset some of the overall warming trend in that region. Though the researchers stress this is in no way an endorsement to trans-Arctic shipping or a means to mitigate climate change, the results illustrate the complexities in understanding how human activities impact the climate.

World's first passive anti-frosting surface fights ice with ice

Mon, 09/17/2018 - 08:09
Nothing foretells the coming of winter like frost on windshields. While the inconvenience of scraping or defrosting car windows may define cold mornings for many drivers, the toll frost takes on the larger economy is more than just a nuisance. From delayed flights to power outages, ice buildup can cost consumers and companies billions of dollars every year in lost efficiency and mechanical breakdown.

Scientists find stable sea levels during last interglacial

Mon, 09/10/2018 - 10:13
The magnitude and trajectory of sea-level change during the Last Interglacial, more specifically Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5e, is uncertain. To date the consensus view has been that sea-level may have been six to nine meters above present sea level. However, scientists are now questioning if those sea level fluctuations are accurate.

Coastal erosion in the Arctic intensifies global warming

Mon, 09/10/2018 - 07:15
The loss of arctic permafrost deposits by coastal erosion could amplify climate warming via the greenhouse effect. A study using sediment samples from the Sea of Okhotsk on the eastern coast of Russia revealed that the loss of Arctic permafrost at the end of the last glacial period led to repeated sudden increases in the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere.

Ancient farmers spared us from glaciers but profoundly changed Earth's climate

Thu, 09/06/2018 - 13:15
New evidence shows that ancient farming practices led to a rise in the atmospheric emission of the heat-trapping gases carbon dioxide and methane -- a rise that has continued since, unlike the trend at any other time in Earth's geologic history.

Volcano under ice sheet suggests thickening of West Antarctic ice is short-term

Thu, 09/06/2018 - 09:04
Evidence left by a volcano under the ice sheet suggests that the observed bulging of ice in West Antarctica is a short-term feature that may not affect the glacier's motion over the long term.

Global warming: Worrying lessons from the past

Thu, 09/06/2018 - 07:21
Fifty-six million years ago, Earth experienced an exceptional episode of global warming. Within 10,000 to 20,000 years, the average temperature increased by 5 to 8 degrees, only returning to its original level a few hundred thousand years later. Based on the analysis of sediments from the southern slope of the Pyrenees, researchers measured the impact of this warming on river floods and the surrounding landscapes. Their conclusions show that the consequences of such global warming may have been much greater than predicted by current climate models.

New way to see dirty underside of glaciers

Tue, 09/04/2018 - 10:47
Accurate projections of sea level rise require sophisticated models for glacier flow, but current approaches do a poor job capturing the physical processes that control how fast glaciers slide over sediments, according to researchers. In a new study, they've proposed a theoretical approach that sheds light on the dirty, dark undersides of glaciers and improve the modeling of ice flow.

Can social media networks reduce political polarization on climate change?

Mon, 09/03/2018 - 14:29
Political bias often leads to polarization on topics like climate change. But a new study has shown that exposure to anonymous, bipartisan social networks can make a striking difference, leading both liberals and conservatives to improve their forecasting of climate-change trends.

Mud from the deep sea reveals clues about ancient monsoon

Mon, 09/03/2018 - 10:33
The Sonoran Desert is one of the world's most biodiverse deserts, thanks to the annual monsoon, which provide a source of moisture in addition to seasonal winter rains. Researchers were able to access untapped clues about the monsoon's activity during the last ice age, about 20,000 years ago. Their findings help scientists predict how regional climates may respond to future conditions.

A new way to remove ice buildup without power or chemicals

Fri, 08/31/2018 - 14:01
Researchers have found a way to prevent icing of powerlines, airplanes, wind turbines, and other surfaces with a special coating and the power of sunlight -- no heating or harsh chemicals needed.