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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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Stagnation in the South Pacific

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 13:49
A team led by geochemist has discovered important evidence that the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels at the end of the last ice age was triggered by changes in the Antarctic Ocean.

Extinct lakes of the American desert west

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 12:34
The vestiges of lakes long extinct dot the landscape of the American desert west. These fossilized landforms provide clues of how dynamic climate has been over the past few million years.

First evidence of surprising ocean warming around Galápagos corals

Wed, 02/21/2018 - 12:18
A new analysis of the natural temperature archives stored in coral reefs shows the ocean around the Galápagos Islands has been warming since the 1970s. The finding surprised the research team, because the sparse instrumental records for sea surface temperature for that part of the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean did not show warming. Scientists thought strong upwelling of colder deep waters spared the region from the warming seen in other parts of the Pacific.

Beluga whales dive deeper, longer to find food in Arctic

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 15:12
Beluga whales that spend summers feeding in the Arctic are diving deeper and longer to find food than in earlier years, when sea ice covered more of the ocean for longer periods, according to a new analysis.

Sea-level legacy: 20 cm more rise by 2300 for each 5-year delay in peaking emissions

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 11:30
Peaking global carbon dioxide emissions as soon as possible is crucial for limiting the risks of sea-level rise, even if global warming is limited to well below 2 degrees C. A new study analyzes for the first time the sea-level legacy until 2300 within the constraints of the Paris Agreement.

Oil-eating microbes are challenged in the Arctic

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 09:41
Bacteria play a major role in cleaning up oil spills and mitigating its environmental impacts. In a new paper, researchers examine the major limiting factors for microbial degradation in Arctic environments.

Nitrate flux in the Arctic not following the decreasing NOx emissions in neighboring countries

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 08:49
Nitrate deposits in the Arctic remains high even after the turn of the century, despite environmental policies adopted by neighboring countries in the late 20th century to cut nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions.

For green toads, species with multiple genomes have ancestors that are only distantly related

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 08:35
Most vertebrates have two sets of chromosomes, one from their mother and one from their father – including humans who are thus diploid. In contrast, polyploidy, meaning to possess three or more sets of chromosomes is very rare in animals. To find out how new vertebrate species have evolved, and, more generally, how the current biodiversity emerged, evolutionary biologists are studying green toads (Bufo viridis) – an excellent model system for studying various evolutionary processes, because they can be diploid or polyploid.

Key to predicting climate change could be blowing in the wind

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 09:57
Dust that blew into the North Pacific Ocean could help explain why the Earth's climate cooled 2.7 million years ago, according to a new study.

Monitoring bacteria on whale skin

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 13:58
Just like with humans, the skin on marine mammals serves as an important line of defense against pathogens in their environment. A new study sheds light on the skin microbiome -- a group of microorganisms that live on skin -- in healthy humpback whales, which could aid in future efforts to monitor their health.

NASA's longest running survey of ice shattered records in 2017

Tue, 02/13/2018 - 17:35
Last year was a record-breaking one for Operation IceBridge, NASA's aerial survey of the state of polar ice.

Polar vortex defies climate change in the Southeast U.S.

Tue, 02/13/2018 - 17:35
Overwhelming scientific evidence has demonstrated that our planet is getting warmer due to climate change, yet parts of the eastern US are actually getting cooler. According to a new study, the location of this anomaly, known as the 'US warming hole,' is a moving target. During the winter and spring, the US warming hole sits over the Southeast, as the polar vortex allows arctic air to plunge into the region, resulting in persistently cooler temperatures.

Sea level rise accelerating: acceleration in 25-year satellite sea level record

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 14:07
Global sea level rise is not cruising along at a steady rate per year, but rather accelerating a little every year like a driver merging onto a highway.

First scientific expedition to newly exposed Antarctic ecosystem

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 10:52
A team of scientists heads to Antarctica this week (14 February) to investigate a mysterious marine ecosystem that’s been hidden beneath an Antarctic ice shelf for up to 120,000 years.  

Lightning storms less likely in a warming planet, study suggests

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 10:17
Lightning may strike less often in future across the globe as the planet warms, a scientific study suggests.

Why did gas hydrates melt at the end of the last ice age?

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 09:31
Large amounts of the greenhouse gas methane are locked up as solid gas hydrates in the continental slopes of ocean margins. Their stability depends on low temperatures and high pressure. However, other factors that influence gas hydrate stability are not as well understood. A research team has found evidence off the coast of Norway that the amount of sediment deposited on the seafloor can play a crucial role.

Mysterious lives of narwhals

Fri, 02/09/2018 - 12:14
Narwhals are some of the most elusive creatures in the ocean, spending most of their lives in deep water far from shore. But new research may shed a bit of light on these enigmatic marine mammals.

Cool Snake - Warmth-loving Grass Snake survived the Ice Age in Central Europe

Fri, 02/09/2018 - 10:25
Using genetic analyses, scientists have discovered that not all Grass Snakes retreated to warm southern refugia during the last Central European Ice Age. They offer first evidence for the survival of a warmth-loving, egg-laying reptile during this cold period.

No volcanic winter in East Africa from ancient Toba eruption

Tue, 02/06/2018 - 14:18
The Toba supereruption on the island of Sumatra about 74,000 years ago did not cause a six-year-long 'volcanic winter' in East Africa and thereby cause the human population in the region to plummet, according to new research based on an analysis of ancient plant remains from lake cores. The new findings disagree with the Toba catastrophe hypothesis, which says the eruption and its aftermath caused drastic, multi-year cooling and severe ecological disruption in East Africa.

Sea ice algae blooms in the dark

Tue, 02/06/2018 - 13:06
Researchers have measured a new world record: Small ice algae on the underside of the Arctic sea ice live and grow at a light level corresponding to only 0.02 percent of the light at the surface of the ice. Algae are the primary component of the Arctic food web and produce food far earlier in the year than previously thought.