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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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Citizen-science climate project adds logs from historic Arctic whaling ships

Fri, 12/04/2015 - 17:38
Old Weather is a citizen-science project that is mining historic ship logs to get a unique peek at the history of Arctic climate. Now volunteers will transcribe logbooks from hundreds of whaling ships that recorded Arctic conditions in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Study undercuts idea that 'Medieval Warm Period' was global

Fri, 12/04/2015 - 13:59
A new study questions the popular notion that 10th-century Norse people were able to colonize Greenland because of a period of unusually warm weather. Researchers say the climate was already cold when the Norse arrived -- and that climate thus probably played little role in their mysterious demise some 400 years later. On a larger scale, the study adds to building evidence that the so-called Medieval Warm Period, when Europe enjoyed clement weather, did not necessarily extend to other parts of the world.

Ocean toxicity hampered the rapid evolution of complex life

Fri, 12/04/2015 - 08:00
By examining rocks at the bottom of ancient oceans, an international group of researchers has revealed that arsenic concentrations in the oceans have varied greatly over time. But also that in the very early oceans, arsenic co-varied with the rise of atmospheric oxygen and coincided with the coming and going of global glaciations, researchers say.

Dissecting paleoclimate change

Wed, 12/02/2015 - 14:57
Using a core sample from the Santa Barbara Basin, researchers decipher the history of paleoclimate change with surprising results. For more than a million years, Earth's climate has oscillated from glacial (ice age) to interglacial (warm) -- the latter representing modern conditions. According to the authors, the Santa Barbara Basin holds the most pristine marine record of these fluctuations, thanks in large part to the area's unique location along the California margin. The basin is the confluence of the cool California current from the subpolar region and the warm countercurrent from the tropics.

Why Europe will eventually turn cold

Tue, 12/01/2015 - 12:00
While the politicians are taking part in global climate talks in Paris, a group of scientists traced solar activity over the past thousand years and made the forecast to the year 3200.

Failing phytoplankton, failing oxygen: Global warming disaster could suffocate life on planet Earth

Tue, 12/01/2015 - 08:41
Falling oxygen levels caused by global warming could be a greater threat to the survival of life on planet Earth than flooding, according to new research.

Asia is warming the Arctic

Tue, 12/01/2015 - 08:39
New research has calculated Arctic warming from various sources of black carbon emissions. Emissions from Asia and gas flaring in Russia have the greatest impact on Arctic warming.

Climate can grind mountains faster than they can be rebuilt

Mon, 11/30/2015 - 15:34
For the first time, researchers have attempted to measure all the material leaving and entering a mountain range over more than a million years, and discovered that erosion caused by glaciation during ice ages can, in the right circumstances, wear down mountains faster than plate tectonics can build them.

Very large volcanic eruptions could lead to ice sheet instability

Mon, 11/30/2015 - 12:00
Massive volcanic eruptions could cause localized warming that might destabilize some of the world's biggest ice sheets, according to new research.

Runaway ice loss in Antarctica

Mon, 11/30/2015 - 07:46
By studying rocks at different elevations beside the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, scientists have concluded that a period of rapid glacier thinning occurred in the recent geological past, and persisted for several centuries.

Soil pulled from deep under Oregon's unglaciated Coast Range unveils frosty past climate

Fri, 11/27/2015 - 18:51
Lush greenery rich in Douglas fir and hemlock trees covers the Triangle Lake valley of the Oregon Coast Range. Today, however, geologists are more focused on sediment samples dating back 50,000 years and which show the region, not covered by glaciers in the last ice age, was frost-covered and endured erosion rates must higher than those seen today.

Great Barrier Reef protecting against landslides, tsunamis

Wed, 11/25/2015 - 09:47
The world-famous Australian reef is providing an effective barrier against landslide-induced tsunamis, new research shows. An underwater landslide has been found to have occurred some 20,000 years ago, causing a tsunami. Similar submarine landslides could occur without our knowledge but the Great Barrier Reef can absorb some of that potential wave energy.

NASA's Operation IceBridge completes twin polar campaigns

Tue, 11/24/2015 - 16:03
NASA's Operation IceBridge, an airborne survey of polar ice, recently finalized two overlapping campaigns at both of Earth's poles. Down south, the mission observed a big drop in the height of two glaciers situated in the Antarctic Peninsula, while in the north it collected much needed measurements of the status of land and sea ice at the end of the Arctic summer melt season.

Climate study finds evidence of global shift in the 1980s

Tue, 11/24/2015 - 07:15
Planet Earth experienced a global climate shift in the late 1980s on an unprecedented scale, fueled by anthropogenic warming and a volcanic eruption, according to new research. Scientists say that a major step change, or 'regime shift,' in Earth's biophysical systems, from the upper atmosphere to the depths of the ocean and from the Arctic to Antarctica, was centered around 1987, and was sparked by the El Chichón volcanic eruption in Mexico five years earlier.

Mountain ranges evolve, respond to Earth's climate, study shows

Mon, 11/23/2015 - 19:19
Erosion caused by glaciation during ice ages can, in the right circumstances, wear down mountains faster than plate tectonics can build them, groundbreaking new research has shown.

Wind tunnel reveals mysteries of drifting snow

Sun, 11/22/2015 - 12:31
Drifting snow is a complicated and poorly understood process that is important to fathom because it accounts for a major fraction of wind-blown snow redistribution within polar and mountainous regions of the world. To understand it better, a group researchers is exploring mass and momentum fluxes during drifting snow events, pursuing an improved understanding of the link between snow cover erosion and deposition.

Climate change: Warm water is mixing up life in the Arctic

Fri, 11/20/2015 - 09:37
The warming of arctic waters in the wake of climate change is likely to produce radical changes in the marine habitats of the High North. This is indicated by data from long-term observations in the Fram Strait.

Sea level rise from Antarctic collapse may be slower than suggested

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 14:51
A new study by scientists in the UK and France has found that Antarctic ice sheet collapse will have serious consequences for sea level rise over the next two hundred years, though not as much as some have suggested.

Low-oxygen 'dead zones' in North Pacific linked to past ocean-warming events

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 14:51
A new study has found a link between abrupt ocean warming at the end of the last ice age and the sudden onset of low-oxygen, or hypoxic conditions that led to vast marine dead zones.

Melting Scandinavian ice provides missing link in Europe's final Ice Age story

Tue, 11/17/2015 - 10:26
Molecular-based moisture indicators, remains of midges and climate simulations have provided climate scientists with the final piece to one of the most enduring puzzles of the last Ice Age.

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