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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 58 min ago

Volcanoes shaped the climate before humankind

Wed, 07/24/2019 - 12:36
Five large volcanic eruptions occurred in the early 19th century. They caused cooling and -- as a new study shows -- to drying in the monsoon regions and glaciers growing in the Alps. The study shows that the pre-industrial climate was not constant: if one takes this cold period as the starting point for current global warming, the climate has already warmed up more than assumed in the current discussions.

Causes of multidecadal climate changes

Wed, 07/24/2019 - 12:16
A new reconstruction of global average surface temperature change over the past 2,000 years has identified the main causes for decade-scale climate changes. The new temperature reconstruction also largely agrees with climate model simulations of the same time period. This suggests that current climate models accurately represent the contributions of various influences on global climate change -- and are capable of correctly predicting future climate warming.

Climate is warming faster than it has in the last 2,000 years

Wed, 07/24/2019 - 12:16
In contrast to pre-industrial climate fluctuations, current, anthropogenic climate change is occurring across the whole world at the same time, according to new studies. In addition, the speed of global warming is higher than it has been in at least 2,000 years.

Robots roaming in Antarctic waters reveal why Ross Ice Shelf melts rapidly in summer

Mon, 07/22/2019 - 14:52
A new study reveals how local factors influence the Ross Ice Shelf's stability, refining predictions of how it will change and influence sea rise in the future.

Geoscientists discover mechanisms controlling Greenland ice sheet collapse

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 12:55
New radar technology allowed geoscientists to look at Greenland's dynamic ice-ocean interface that drives sea level rise.

Strong storms also play big role in Antarctic ice shelf collapse

Thu, 07/18/2019 - 15:48
Warming temperatures and changes in ocean circulation and salinity are driving the breakup of ice sheets in Antarctica, but a new study suggests that intense storms may help push the system over the edge.

West Antarctic ice collapse may be prevented by snowing ocean water onto it

Wed, 07/17/2019 - 13:27
The ice sheet covering West Antarctica is at risk of sliding off into the ocean. While further ice-sheet destabilisation in other parts of the continent may be limited by a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the slow, yet inexorable loss of West Antarctic ice is likely to continue even after climate warming is stabilised. A collapse might take hundreds of years but will raise sea levels worldwide by more than three meters.

Tracking down climate change with radar eyes

Tue, 07/16/2019 - 08:55
Over the past 22 years, sea levels in the Arctic have risen an average of 2.2 millimeters per year. This is the conclusion of a research team after evaluating 1.5 billion radar measurements of various satellites using specially developed algorithms.

A material way to make Mars habitable

Mon, 07/15/2019 - 10:42
New research suggest that regions of the Martian surface could be made habitable with a material -- silica aerogel -- that mimics Earth's atmospheric greenhouse effect. Through modeling and experiments, the researchers show that a 2- to 3-centimeter-thick shield of silica aerogel could transmit enough visible light for photosynthesis, block hazardous ultraviolet radiation, and raise temperatures underneath permanently above the melting point of water, all without the need for any internal heat source.

Super salty, subzero Arctic water provides peek at possible life on other planets

Fri, 07/12/2019 - 09:57
Researchers have discovered thriving communities of bacteria in Alaskan 'cryopegs,' trapped layers of sediment with water so salty that it remains liquid at below-freezing temperatures. The setting may be similar to environments on Mars, Saturn's moon Titan, or other bodies farther from the sun.

Researchers discover ice is sliding toward edges off Greenland Ice Sheet

Wed, 07/10/2019 - 14:18
Ice on the Greenland Ice Sheet doesn't just melt. The ice actually slides rapidly across its bed toward the ice sheet's edges. As a result, because ice motion is from sliding as opposed to ice deformation, ice is being moved to the high-melt marginal zones more rapidly than previously thought.

A clearer picture of global ice sheet mass

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 08:11
Fluctuations in the masses of the world's largest ice sheets carry important consequences for future sea level rise, but understanding the complicated interplay of atmospheric conditions, snowfall input and melting processes has never been easy to measure due to the sheer size and remoteness inherent to glacial landscapes.

Paris Agreement does not rule out ice-free Arctic

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 08:11
A research team reveals a considerable chance for an ice-free Arctic Ocean at global warming limits stipulated in the Paris Agreement.

Lead pollution in Arctic ice shows economic impact of wars and plagues for past 1,500 years

Mon, 07/08/2019 - 14:40
A research team used 13 ice cores from Greenland and the Russian Arctic to measure, date, and analyze lead emissions captured in ice from 500 to 2010 CE. They found that increases in lead concentration in the ice cores track closely with periods of expansion in Europe, the advent of new technologies, and economic prosperity. Decreases in lead, on the other hand, paralleled climate disruptions, wars, plagues, and famines.

Cave secrets unlocked to show past drought and rainfall patterns

Mon, 07/08/2019 - 11:23
Global trends in cave waters identify how stalagmites reveal past rainfall and drought patterns.

Grazing animals drove domestication of grain crops

Mon, 07/08/2019 - 10:24
During the Pleistocene, massive herds directed the ecology across much of the globe and caused evolutionary changes in plants. Studies of the ecology and growing habits of certain ancient crop relatives indicate that megafaunal herds were necessary for the dispersal of their seeds prior to human intervention. Understanding this process is providing insights into the early domestication of these plants.

Snow algae thrive in high-elevation ice spires, an unlikely oasis for life

Mon, 07/08/2019 - 07:43
High in the Andes Mountains, dagger-shaped ice spires house thriving microbial communities, offering an oasis for life in one of Earth's harshest environments as well as a possible analogue for life on other planets.

More 'reactive' land surfaces cooled the Earth down

Wed, 07/03/2019 - 12:40
In a new study, researchers show that a paradigm on a global temperature drop that started around 15 million years ago cannot be upheld. With the help of a computer model they explain the Earth's cooling with an increased 'reactivity' of the land surface that has led to a decrease in CO2 in the atmosphere, reducing the Earth's natural green house effect.

New model suggests lost continents for early Earth

Mon, 07/01/2019 - 13:45
A new radioactivity model of Earth's ancient rocks calls into question current models for the formation of Earth's continental crust, suggesting continents may have risen out of the sea much earlier than previously thought but were destroyed, leaving little trace.

New measurements shed light on the impact of water temperatures on glacier calving

Mon, 07/01/2019 - 13:45
Calving, or the breaking off of icebergs from glaciers, has increased at many glaciers along the west coast of Svalbard. Now, researchers have shown that, whilst subsurface water temperatures are the most important driver of frontal mass loss, they are not as important as previously thought.