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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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How stable is the Antarctic ice sheet?

Mon, 11/30/2020 - 10:35
As temperatures rise due to climate change, the melting of polar ice sheets is accelerating. An international team of scientists has now examined the dynamics of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet more closely using deep-sea sediments dating back approximately 2.5 million years. Their results indicate that, in a constantly warming climate, the ice masses of East Antarctica could be much less stable than previously thought.

Genes unlock clues to the evolution and survival of the Great Barrier Reef

Mon, 11/30/2020 - 10:35
Innovative molecular techniques explain how corals on the east coast of Australia survived previous tough conditions--enabling the Great Barrier Reef to become the vast reef it is today. Scientists mapped the rise and fall of two coral populations on the reef, tracking which genes rapidly evolved to endure changing conditions, while measuring the flow of genes between locations.

Ice sheets on the move: How north and south poles connect

Wed, 11/25/2020 - 10:44
Over the past 40,000 years, ice sheets thousands of kilometers apart have influenced one another through sea level changes, according to new research. New modelling of ice sheet changes during the most recent glacial cycle demonstrates, for the first time, that during this period, changes in the Antarctic ice sheet were driven by the melting ice sheets in the Northern Hemisphere.

A rich source of nutrients under the Earth's ice sheets

Mon, 11/23/2020 - 15:10
Trace elements such as iron and zinc are essential micronutrients for all kinds of organisms. Below ice sheets, which cover around ten percent of the Earth's land surface, larger quantities of these substances are mobilised than previously assumed. This is shown by new data from Greenland and Antarctica, which were collected and analysed by an international research team.

Shift in atmospheric rivers could affect Antarctic sea ice, glaciers

Mon, 11/23/2020 - 11:07
Weather systems responsible for transporting moisture from the tropics to temperate regions in the Southern Hemisphere have been gradually shifting toward the South Pole for the past 40 years, a trend which could lead to increased rates of ice melt in Antarctica, according to new research.

Siberian primrose has not had time to adapt to climate change

Mon, 11/23/2020 - 09:09
Global warming already affects Siberian primrose, a plant species that is threatened in Finland and Norway. According to a recently completed study, individuals of Siberian primrose originating in the Finnish coast on the Bothnian Bay currently fare better in northern Norway than in their home area. The results indicate that the species may not be able to adapt to quickly progressing climate change, which could potentially lead to its extinction.

Breaking the ice on melting and freezing

Sun, 11/22/2020 - 08:46
Researchers have shared new insights into melting icebergs and lake ice formation.

Polar climate affects trade wind strength in tropics

Fri, 11/20/2020 - 13:21
The impact of sea surface temperature variations in the tropical Pacific on global climate has long been recognized. For instance, the episodic warming of the tropical Pacific during El Niño events causes melt of sea ice in far-reaching parts of the Southern Ocean via its effect on the global atmospheric circulation. A new study demonstrates that the opposite pathway exists as well.

Giant aquatic bacterium is a master of adaptation

Thu, 11/19/2020 - 13:17
The largest freshwater bacterium, Achromatium oxaliferum, is highly flexible in its requirements, as researchers have now discovered: It lives in places that differ extremely in environmental conditions such as hot springs and ice water. The adaptation is probably achieved by a process which is unique to these bacteria: only relevant genes are enriched in the genomes and transcribed, while others are archived in cell compartments.

More children and youth drowning as warming temperatures create unstable lake ice

Wed, 11/18/2020 - 13:18
As winters become milder and lake ice less stable, more children and young adults are falling through the ice and fatally drowning, say researchers. A new study, which looked at 4,000 drownings in 10 countries, including Canada, Russia, Finland, Germany, Sweden, and the United States, found warming winter air temperatures were a good predictor of the number of drownings.

Study improves ability to predict how whales travel through their ocean habitat

Wed, 11/18/2020 - 08:07
Scientists recently published a study that could help researchers learn where protections are needed the most for bowhead whales.

Holes in Greenland ice sheet are larger than previously thought

Tue, 11/17/2020 - 11:28
An expedition finds that holes in the Greenland ice sheet, called moulins, are much larger than previously thought.

Study reconstructs ancient storms to help predict changes in tropical cyclone hotspot

Mon, 11/16/2020 - 10:28
New research reveals that tropical cyclones were actually more frequent in the southern Marshall Islands during the Little Ice Age, when temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere were cooler than they are today. This means that changes in atmospheric circulation, driven by differential ocean warming, heavily influence the location and intensity of tropical cyclones.

Landslide along Alaskan fjord could trigger tsunami

Thu, 11/12/2020 - 11:38
Scientists noted that the slope on Barry Arm fjord on Prince William Sound in southeastern Alaska slid some 120 meters from 2010 to 2017, a slow-moving landslide caused by glacial melt that could trigger a devastating tsunami. These are some of the first measurements to quantify how the slope is falling there; the study also models a potential tsunami.

Possible 1,000-kilometer-long river running deep below Greenland's ice sheet

Thu, 11/12/2020 - 07:09
Computational models suggest that melting water originating in the deep interior of Greenland could flow the entire length of a subglacial valley and exit at Petermann Fjord, along the northern coast of the island. Updating ice sheet models with this open valley could provide additional insight for future climate change predictions.

COVID-delayed Arctic research cruise yields late-season data

Wed, 11/11/2020 - 17:06
Researchers studying the Bering and Chukchi seas for three weeks in October found no ice and a surprisingly active ecosystem as they added another year's data to a key climate change record.

Atmospheric rivers help create massive holes in Antarctic sea ice

Wed, 11/11/2020 - 13:44
Warm, moist rivers of air in Antarctica play a key role in creating massive holes in sea ice in the Weddell Sea and may influence ocean conditions around the vast continent as well as climate change, according to new research.

Late-season Arctic research cruise reveals warm ocean temperatures, active ecosystem

Wed, 11/11/2020 - 13:43
Arctic researchers have been visiting the Bering and Chukchi seas off Alaska for nearly 30 years, collecting information about the biological diversity of the watery world under the sea ice. This year, a late-season research cruise revealed a surprise. At a time of year when an ice-breaking ship is usually required to get to some of the data-gathering outposts, scientists found nothing but open water and an unusually active ecosystem.

Mental health strained by disaster

Wed, 11/11/2020 - 13:43
A new study found that suicide rates increase during all types of disasters -- including severe storms, floods, hurricanes and ice storms -- with the largest overall increase occurring two years after a disaster. A team of researchers examined the impact of 281 natural disasters on suicide rates during a 12-year span and found overall suicide rates increased by 23% when compared to rates before and after the disaster.

Scientists have discovered an ancient lake bed deep beneath the Greenland ice

Tue, 11/10/2020 - 12:31
Scientists have detected what they say are the sediments of a huge ancient lake bed sealed more than a mile under the ice of northwest Greenland.