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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 34 min ago

Antarctic ice shelf 'sings' as winds whip across its surface

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 14:06
Winds blowing across snow dunes on Antarctica's Ross Ice Shelf cause the massive ice slab's surface to vibrate, producing a near-constant set of seismic 'tones' scientists could potentially use to monitor changes in the ice shelf from afar, according to new research.

Climate models fail to simulate recent air-pressure changes over Greenland

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 12:20
Climatologists may be unable to accurately predict regional climate change over the North Atlantic because computer simulations have failed to include real data from the Greenland region over the last three decades -- and it could lead to regional climate predictions for the UK and parts of Europe being inaccurate.

Arctic sea ice decline driving ocean phytoplankton farther north

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 13:15
A new study reveals phytoplankton spring blooms in the Arctic Ocean, which were previously nonexistent, are expanding northward at a rate of one degree of latitude per decade. Although blooms did not previously occur in this area, phytoplankton were present in the Arctic's central basin at low biomass. The study also found the primary productivity of the phytoplankton, or the rate at which phytoplankton convert sunlight into chemical energy, is increasing during the spring blooms.

Scientists find missing piece in glacier melt predictions

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 09:05
A new method for observing water within ice has revealed stored meltwater that may explain the complex flow behavior of some Greenland glaciers, an important component for predicting sea-level rise in a changing climate.

Does climate vary more from century to century when it is warmer?

Fri, 10/12/2018 - 07:26
Century-scale climate variability was enhanced when the Earth was warmer during the Last Interglacial period (129,000-116,000 years ago) compared to the current interglacial (the last 11,700 years), according to a new study.

City of Koh Ker was occupied for centuries longer than previously thought

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 13:17
The classic account of the ancient city of Koh Ker is one of a briefly-occupied and abruptly-abandoned region, but in reality, the area may have been occupied for several centuries beyond what is traditionally acknowledged, according to a new study.

Changes in polar jet circulation bring more dust from Sahara Desert to the Arctic

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 09:56
Poleward transport of warm, moist, and dust-laden air masses from the Sahara Desert results in ice melting in southeast Greenland, scientists have found.

Reconstructing human history with the help of fecal sterols

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 09:55
The story of human presence on Earth can be told by studying the sediment and soil accumulation of these chemical compounds in human feces.

Polar bears gorged on whales to survive past warm periods; won't suffice as climate warms

Tue, 10/09/2018 - 16:56
A new study found that while dead whales are valuable sources of fat and protein for some polar bears, this resource will likely not be enough to sustain most bear populations in the future when the Arctic becomes ice-free in summers.

Rapid, widespread changes may be coming to Antarctica's Dry Valleys

Tue, 10/09/2018 - 12:58
Antarctica's sandy polar desert, the McMurdo Dry Valleys, has undergone changes over the past decade and the recent discovery of thawing permafrost, thinning glaciers and melting ground ice by a research team are signs that rapid and widespread change could be on the horizon.

Drier, less predictable environment may have spurred human evolution

Mon, 10/08/2018 - 17:33
Evidence of a variable but progressively drying climate coincides with a major shift in stone-tool-making abilities and the appearance of modern Homo sapiens. Sediment cores obtained by the Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project provide the first continuous environmental context for the diverse archeological evidence recovered from nearby localities in the East African rift valley.

Rapid response needed to limit global warming

Mon, 10/08/2018 - 06:51
Limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society, according to the latest report from the world's leading body of climate change experts.

Ground shaking during devastating flood offers new insights

Thu, 10/04/2018 - 13:39
Scientists were able to record a sudden outburst of a glacial lake with seismometers deployed the year before in the wake of the catastrophic Ghorka earthquake in April 2015. The authors of a new study argue that such major flood events have a greater impact on erosion rates than the annual monsoon rainfalls. The reason is that the water masses mobilize large boulders and coarse sediment which usually protect the riverbed.

Cooling effect of preindustrial fires on climate underestimated

Wed, 10/03/2018 - 10:04
The Industrial Revolution brought about many things: the steam engine, the factory system, mass production. But not, apparently, more wildfires. Actually, the opposite. A new study finds that emissions from fire activity were significantly greater in the preindustrial era, which began around 1750, than previously thought. As a result, scientists have underestimated the cooling effect the aerosol particles produced by these fires had on the past climate.

2018 Arctic summertime sea ice minimum extent tied for sixth lowest on record

Thu, 09/27/2018 - 11:29
Arctic sea ice likely reached its 2018 lowest extent on Sept. 19 and again on Sept. 23, 2018. Analysis of satellite data showed that, at 1.77 million square miles (4.59 million square kilometers), 2018 effectively tied with 2008 and 2010 for the sixth lowest summertime minimum extent in the satellite record.

Big increase in economic costs if cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are delayed

Wed, 09/26/2018 - 18:20
Stronger efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions should be undertaken to avoid global warming of more than 1.5 degrees Celsius -- without relying on potentially more expensive or risky technologies to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or reduce the amount of sunlight reaching Earth's surface.

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.