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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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Rapid decline of Arctic sea ice a combination of climate change and natural variability

Mon, 03/13/2017 - 15:08
The dramatic decline of Arctic sea ice in recent decades is caused by a mixture of global warming and a natural, decades-long atmospheric hot spot over Greenland and the Canadian Arctic.

A perfect storm of fire and ice may have led to snowball Earth

Mon, 03/13/2017 - 15:08
What caused the largest glaciation event in Earth's history, known as 'snowball Earth'? Geologists and climate scientists have been searching for the answer for years but the root cause of the phenomenon remains elusive. Now, researchers have a new hypothesis about what caused the runaway glaciation that covered the Earth pole-to-pole in ice.

NASA's aerial survey of polar ice expands its Arctic reach

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 11:17
For the past eight years, Operation IceBridge, a NASA mission that conducts aerial surveys of polar ice, has produced unprecedented three-dimensional views of Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets, providing scientists with valuable data on how polar ice is changing in a warming world. Now, for the first time, the campaign will expand its reach to explore the Arctic's Eurasian Basin through two research flights based out of Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago in the northern Atlantic Ocean.

Discovery of widespread platinum may help solve Clovis people mystery

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 11:06
No one knows for certain why the Clovis people and iconic beasts -- mastodon, mammoth and saber-toothed tiger -- living some 12,800 years ago suddenly disappeared. However, a discovery of widespread platinum at archaeological sites across the US has provided an important clue in solving this enduring mystery.

Paleolake deposits on Mars might look like sediments in Indonesia

Mon, 03/06/2017 - 10:42
A new article details the clay mineralogy of sediment from Lake Towuti, Indonesia, using a technique called visible to near-infrared (VNIR) spectroscopy. VNIR measures the signature of reflected light from a sample across a larger wavelength range than just visible light. At Lake Towuti, the spectral record shows distinct variations in clay mineralogy over the past 40,000 years.

Cold extermination: One of greatest mass extinctions was due to an ice age and not to Earth's warming

Mon, 03/06/2017 - 08:19
The Earth has known several mass extinctions over the course of its history. One of the most important happened at the Permian-Triassic boundary 250 million years ago. Over 95% of marine species disappeared and, up until now, scientists have linked this extinction to a significant rise in Earth temperatures. But researchers have now discovered that this extinction took place during a short ice age which preceded the global climate warming. It's the first time that the various stages of a mass extinction have been accurately understood and that scientists have been able to assess the major role played by volcanic explosions in these climate processes.

NASA study improves forecasts of summer Arctic sea ice

Fri, 03/03/2017 - 08:13
The Arctic has been losing sea ice over the past several decades as Earth warms. However, each year, as the sea ice starts to melt in the spring following its maximum wintertime extent, scientists still struggle to estimate exactly how much ice they expect will disappear through the melt season. Now, a new NASA forecasting model based on satellite measurements is allowing researchers to make better estimates.

Highest temperatures recorded for antarctic region

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 07:49
The World Meteorological Organization announced today new verified record high- temperatures in Antarctica, ranging from the high 60s (in Fahrenheit) to the high teens, depending on the location they were recorded in Antarctica. Knowledge and verification of such extremes are important in the study of weather patterns, climate variability and human induced change, report scientists.

Declining Arctic sea ice influences European weather, but isn't a cause of colder winters

Tue, 02/28/2017 - 12:10
The dramatic loss of Arctic sea ice through climate change is unlikely to lead to more severe winter weather across Northern Europe, new research has shown.

Acidification of Arctic Ocean may threaten marine life, fishing industry

Mon, 02/27/2017 - 14:22
An international research team found a rapid rise in acidification in the western Arctic Ocean, a potential threat to shellfish, the marine ecosystem and the fishing industry. Since the 1990s, acidified waters have expanded north about 300 nautical miles from Alaska to just below the North Pole.

Earth probably began with a solid shell

Mon, 02/27/2017 - 11:03
Plate tectonics -- a defining feature of modern Earth and the driving force behind earthquakes, volcanoes and mid-ocean spreading ridges -- did not start until later in Earth's history, new research suggests. The work is the latest salvo in a long-standing geological debate: did plate tectonics start right away, or did Earth begin with a solid shell covering the entire planet? The new results suggest the latter.

Melting sea ice may be speeding nature's clock in the Arctic

Thu, 02/23/2017 - 12:44
Spring is coming sooner to some plant species in the low Arctic of Greenland, while other species are delaying their emergence amid warming winters. The changes are associated with diminishing sea ice cover, according to a study.

Air pollution may have masked mid-20th Century sea ice loss

Thu, 02/23/2017 - 11:43
Humans may have been altering Arctic sea ice longer than previously thought, according to researchers studying the effects of air pollution on sea ice growth in the mid-20th Century.

Why are there different 'flavors' of iron around the Solar System?

Mon, 02/20/2017 - 12:47
New work shows that interactions between iron and nickel under the extreme pressures and temperatures similar to a planetary interior can help scientists understand the period in our Solar System's youth when planets were forming and their cores were created.

Climate-driven permafrost thaw

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 15:10
In bitter cold regions like northwestern Canada, permafrost has preserved relict ground-ice and vast glacial sedimentary stores in a quasi-stable state. These landscapes therefore retain a high potential for climate-driven transformation, say researchers.

Local weather impacts melting of one of Antarctica's fastest-retreating glaciers

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 09:00
Local weather plays an important part in the retreat of the ice shelves in West Antarctica, according to new research.

How an Ice Age paradox could inform sea level rise predictions

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 12:15
New research findings explain an Ice Age paradox and add to the mounting evidence that climate change could bring higher seas than most models predict.

Scientists report ocean data from under Greenland's Petermann Glacier

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 11:11
Based on data from the first ocean sensors deployed under Greenland's Petermann Glacier, researchers report that the floating ice shelf is strongly coupled, or tied, to the ocean below and to the adjacent Nares Strait. Warming temperatures recorded at the deepest ocean sensors match data from Nares Strait, which connects the Arctic and Atlantic oceans.

New pathway for Greenland meltwater to reach ocean

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 11:10
Cracks in the Greenland Ice Sheet let one of its aquifers drain to the ocean, new NASA research finds. The aquifers, discovered only recently, are unusual in that they trap large amounts of liquid water within the ice sheet. Until now, scientists did not know what happened to the water stored away in this reservoir -- the discovery will help fine tune computer models of Greenland's contribution to sea level rise.

Risk of rapid North Atlantic cooling in 21st century greater than previously estimated

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 07:44
The possibility of major climate change in the Atlantic region has long been recognized and has even been the subject of a Hollywood movie: The Day After Tomorrow. To evaluate the risk of such climate change, researchers developed a new algorithm to analyze the 40 climate models considered by the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Their findings raise the probability of rapid North Atlantic cooling during this century to nearly 50%.