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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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Ancient DNA may provide clues into how past environments affected ancient populations

Thu, 05/28/2015 - 11:45
For the first time, a study shows that epigenetic marks on DNA can be detected in a large number of ancient human remains, which may lead to further understanding about the effects of famine and disease in the ancient world.

Extreme global warming of Cretaceous period punctuated with significant global cooling

Thu, 05/28/2015 - 07:38
Scientists have reconstructed the climatic development of the Arctic Ocean during the Cretaceous period, 145 to 66 million years ago. At that time the poles were devoid of ice and average temperatures of up to 35 degrees Celsius prevailed in the oceans. Yet new research shows there was a severe cold snap during the geological age known for its extreme greenhouse climate. What sparked the abrupt global cooling?

Glacier changes at the top of the world

Wed, 05/27/2015 - 08:54
If greenhouse-gas emissions continue to rise, glaciers in the Everest region of the Himalayas could experience dramatic change in the decades to come. Researchers have found Everest glaciers could be very sensitive to future warming, and that sustained ice loss through the 21st century is likely.

Evolution of the Antarctic ice sheet

Tue, 05/26/2015 - 10:02
A new light has been shed on the stability of the Antarctic ice sheet. It shows for the first time that ice rises (pinning points that keep the floating parts of ice sheets in place) are formed during the transition between glacial and interglacial periods, which significantly slows down the response of the ice sheet to climate change.

Sudden onset of ice loss in Antarctica so large it affects Earth's gravity field

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 13:39
Scientists have observed a sudden increase of ice loss in a previously stable region of Antarctica. The ice loss in the region is so large that it causes small changes in the gravity field of the Earth.

Storms and microbes are behind the mystery of the wandering stones

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 08:18
The 'sailing' stones of Death Valley in California are famous for apparently moving by themselves, with the phenomenon not being exclusive to this North American desert but also occurring in Spain, in the Manchego lagoon Altillo Chica. Researchers have observed that wind from winter storms generates currents that can push the stones over a surface colonized by microbes. Then once the water has vanished, the mysterious trail is left on the dry bottom of the lagoon.

Birds of the Ice Age give clues how today's birds will adapt

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 07:24
A new study focusing on the birds of the Ice Age has shed light on the long term response of birds to climate change.

Study reveals how eastern US forests came to be

Wed, 05/20/2015 - 12:46
Spring visitors to Great Smoky Mountains or the Blue Ridge Parkway will see ridges and valleys covered in flowering mountain laurels, rhododendrons, tulip poplars, dogwoods, black locusts and silverbell trees. A new study of nearly all the trees and shrubs in the southern Appalachians suggests that roughly half of the species can trace their relatives to thousands of miles away in Asia. Most of the rest likely arose within North America, the researchers say.

Study highlights ways to boost weather, climate predictions

Mon, 05/18/2015 - 11:18
Long range weather forecasts and climate change projections could be significantly boosted by advances in our understanding of the relationship between layers of the Earth's atmosphere -- the stratosphere and troposphere.

Beached iceberg helps reveal ecological impact of sea-ice changes

Mon, 05/18/2015 - 09:21
The grounding of a giant iceberg in Antarctica has provided a unique real-life experiment that has revealed the vulnerability of marine ecosystems to sudden changes in sea-ice cover. Scientists have found that within just three years of the iceberg becoming stuck in Commonwealth Bay -- an event which dramatically increased sea-ice cover in the bay -- almost all of the seaweed on the sea floor had decomposed, or become discolored or bleached due to lack of light.

'Eternal flames' of ancient times could spark interest of modern geologists

Mon, 05/18/2015 - 09:20
Gas and oil seeps have been part of religious and cultural practices for thousands of years. Seeps from which gas and oil escape were formative to many ancient cultures and societies. They gave rise to legends surrounding the Delphi Oracle, Chimaera fires and "eternal flames" that were central to ancient religious practices - from Indonesia and Iran to Italy and Azerbaijan.

Antarctic ice shelf is thinning from above and below

Wed, 05/13/2015 - 07:37
A decade-long scientific debate about what's causing the thinning of one of Antarctica's largest ice shelves is settled this week with the publication of an international study in the journal The Cryosphere.

Focus on the regional impact of climate change

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 09:35
The recently published Second Assessment of Climate Change for the Baltic Sea Basin makes an important contribution to understanding variations in the climate. The report also captures the most important changes to the regional climate in the Kattegat and Baltic Sea areas, home to 90 million people.

Tide gauge network to be updated after 30 years at sea

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 09:35
The National Oceanography Centre (NOC) has been awarded funding to upgrade the South Atlantic Tide Gauge Network. This network has now been continuously operating in some of Earth's most remote places for 30 years, including open ocean islands, such as Ascension, and the hostile Antarctic environments of Rothera and Vernadsky.

Large landslides lie low: Himalaya-Karakoram ranges

Thu, 05/07/2015 - 12:59
Large landslides are an important process of erosion in the Himalaya-Karakoram ranges. These high-relief landscapes are characterized by steep slopes that are prone to frequent landsliding. By mapping nearly 500 large (greater than 0.1 km2) landslides in the HKR, geologists have found that the vast majority of these mass movements lie in the lower portions of the landscape, whereas glaciers and rock glaciers occupy the higher elevations almost exclusively.

Slowdown after Ice Age sounds a warning for Great Barrier Reef's future

Tue, 05/05/2015 - 09:23
Environmental factors similar to those affecting the present day Great Barrier Reef have been linked to a major slowdown in its growth 8,000 years ago, research shows.

As the river rises: Cahokia's emergence and decline linked to Mississippi River flooding

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 14:49
As with rivers, civilizations across the world rise and fall. Sometimes, the rise and fall of rivers has something to do with it. At Cahokia, the largest prehistoric settlement in the Americas north of Mexico, new evidence suggests that major flood events in the Mississippi River valley are tied to the cultural center's emergence and ultimately, to its decline.

Fjords are 'hotspots' in global carbon cycling

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 11:10
While fjords are celebrated for their beauty, these ecosystems are also major carbon sinks that likely play an important role in the regulation of the planet's climate, new research reveals.

Juvenile shale gas in Sweden

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 11:05
Considering geological time scales, the occurrence of biogenic shale gas in Sweden´s crust is relatively young. Geoscientists found that biogenic methane in the Alum Shale in South Sweden formed due to deglaciation around 12 years ago. Moreover, the formation processes were due to complex interactions between neotectonic activity and the occurrence of a deep biosphere. Applying a new hydrogeochemical modelling approach, the specific methane generation process was unraveled and quantified for the first time in Europe.

Gravity data show that Antarctic ice sheet is melting increasingly faster

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 18:11
Researchers 'weighed' Antarctica's ice sheet using gravitational satellite data and found that during the past decade, Antarctica's massive ice sheet lost twice the amount of ice in its western portion compared with what it accumulated in the east. Their conclusion -- the southern continent's ice cap is melting ever faster.