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Read science articles on the ice age, glaciation and climatology. Discover the connection between ice ages and global warming.
Updated: 41 min 21 sec ago

Low-oxygen 'dead zones' in North Pacific linked to past ocean-warming events

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 14:51
A new study has found a link between abrupt ocean warming at the end of the last ice age and the sudden onset of low-oxygen, or hypoxic conditions that led to vast marine dead zones.

Melting Scandinavian ice provides missing link in Europe's final Ice Age story

Tue, 11/17/2015 - 10:26
Molecular-based moisture indicators, remains of midges and climate simulations have provided climate scientists with the final piece to one of the most enduring puzzles of the last Ice Age.

Methane feeds subsea ice mounds off Siberia

Tue, 11/17/2015 - 08:22
Pingos are spectacular landforms associated with permafrost in the Arctic. They are circular or elliptical formations protruding from the level ground of the tundra, and can be up to 60 meters high. In essence, they are huge lumps of ice covered with soil. Similar structures are now found strewn on the ocean floor in the Arctic shallow seas.

Earth's climate more sensitive to carbon dioxide than previously thought

Mon, 11/16/2015 - 10:27
Ancient climates on Earth may have been more sensitive to carbon dioxide than was previously thought, according to new research. Scientists examined nahcolite crystals found in Colorado's Green River Formation, formed 50 million years old during a hothouse climate. They found that carbon dioxide levels during this time may have been as low as 680 parts per million (ppm), nearly half the 1,125 ppm predicted by previous experiments. The new data suggests that past predictions significantly underestimate the impact of greenhouse warming and that Earth's climate may be more sensitive to increased carbon dioxide than was once thought.

Oceans, ocean activism, deserve broader role in climate change discussions

Thu, 11/12/2015 - 14:59
Researchers argue that both ocean scientists and world leaders should pay more attention to how communities are experiencing, adapting to and even influencing changes in the world's oceans.

Massive northeast Greenland glacier is rapidly melting

Thu, 11/12/2015 - 14:04
A glacier in northeast Greenland that holds enough water to raise global sea levels by more than 18 inches has come unmoored from a stabilizing sill and is crumbling into the North Atlantic Ocean. Losing mass at a rate of 5 billion tons per year, glacier Zachariae Isstrom entered a phase of accelerated retreat in 2012.

Dust, iron, life: How atmospheric dust prepped Earth for life

Tue, 11/10/2015 - 12:45
Dust begets life, and Earth's atmosphere 300 million years ago was perhaps the dustiest of all time, with large consequences for carbon cycling and the climate system. In a new article geologists examine the bioavailability of iron in dust from Earth's penultimate icehouse of the late Paleozoic. Dust links to carbon because of the iron -- a key nutrient for nearly all life, so atmospheric dust acts as a fertilizer.

California 6th grade science books: Climate change a matter of opinion not scientific fact

Tue, 11/10/2015 - 11:04
A new study that analyzed four California science textbooks from major publishers found they position climate change as a debate over differing opinions. Contrary to the near majority of climate scientists who cite scientific data and evidence of human-caused climate change, the textbooks present the topic as uncertain, that humans may or may not cause it, and that its unclear if we need immediate mitigating action, the researchers found.

Geophysics could slow Antarctic ice retreat

Tue, 11/10/2015 - 07:21
The anticipated melting of the massive West Antarctic Ice Sheet could be slowed by two big factors that are largely overlooked in current computer models, according to a new study. The findings suggest that the impact on global sea levels from the retreating ice sheet could be less drastic -- or at least more gradual -- than recent computer simulations have indicated.

Growing Antarctic ice sheet caused ancient Mediterranean to dry up

Tue, 11/10/2015 - 07:21
An international research team has resolved the mystery of the processes involved in the Mediterranean Sea drying up around 5.6 million years ago.The event, known as the Messinian Salinity Crisis, saw the Mediterranean become a 1.5km deep basin for around 270,000 years. It also left a kilometers-deep layer of salt due to seawater evaporation.

Fossil wasp galls indicate little change in Southern California habitats since Ice Age

Mon, 11/09/2015 - 14:38
New research on fossil galls -- abnormal plant growths caused, in this case, by tiny wasps -- helps reconstruct the local habitats of Southern California at the end of the last Ice Age.

The past shows how abrupt climate shifts affect Earth

Mon, 11/09/2015 - 13:15
New research shows how past abrupt climatic changes in the North Atlantic propagated globally. The study results show how forcing the climate system into a different state can trigger climate variations that spread globally and have very different impacts in different regions of Earth. This is important now, where rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels lead to global warming and may trigger abrupt climatic changes.

Microplate discovery dates birth of Himalayas

Mon, 11/09/2015 - 09:39
An international team of scientists has discovered the first oceanic microplate in the Indian Ocean -- helping identify when the initial collision between India and Eurasia occurred, leading to the birth of the Himalayas. Scientists believe the collision occurred 47 million years ago when India and Eurasia initially smashed into each other.

Breakthrough for mining research in the Bronze Age

Mon, 11/09/2015 - 08:20
Mining in the Alps dates back much further than previously thought – in the Austrian region of Montafon since the Bronze Age. Thanks to C14 dating, a group of researchers was able to detect in the course of prospecting in the Bartholomäberg region at a height of 1450 metres ancient traces of mining from the middle Bronze Age. The C14 method, also known as the radiocarbon method, makes a relatively precise age classification possible, for example of charcoal, on the basis of decreasing radioactivity in carbonaceous material.

Human-caused climate change increased the severity of many extreme events in 2014

Sat, 11/07/2015 - 19:25
Human activities, such as greenhouse gas emissions and land use, influenced specific extreme weather and climate events in 2014, including tropical cyclones in the central Pacific, heavy rainfall in Europe, drought in East Africa, and stifling heat waves in Australia, Asia, and South America, according to a new report.

New drought atlas maps 2,000 years of climate in Europe

Fri, 11/06/2015 - 13:45
The long history of severe droughts across Europe and the Mediterranean has largely been told through historical documents and ancient journals, each chronicling the impact in a geographically restricted area. Now, for the first time, an atlas based on scientific evidence provides the big picture, using tree rings to map the reach and severity of dry and wet periods across Europe, and parts of North Africa and the Middle East, year to year over the past 2,000 years.

Climate change is moving mountains

Thu, 11/05/2015 - 11:15
Research points to strong interaction between climate shifts and increased internal movement in the North American St. Elias Mountain Range. The researchers note that the glaciers today are wet-based and are moving, very aggressively eroding material around and out, and in the case of her observation, into the Gulf of Alaska. The tectonic forces (internal plates moving toward one another) continue to move toward Alaska, get pushed underneath and the sediment on top is piling up above the Yakutat plate.

Human intervention can help endangered Saimaa ringed seal adapt to climate change

Thu, 11/05/2015 - 08:20
Humans can help the critically endangered Saimaa ringed seal to cope with climate change. Human-made snow drifts developed in a recent study improved the breeding success of seals during winters with poor snow conditions. Lake Saimaa in Finland is home to the critically endangered subspecies of the ringed seal, the Saimaa ringed seal (Phoca hispida saimensis). The Saimaa ringed seal is heavily ice-associated and its breeding success depends on sufficient ice and snow cover. The loss of snow and ice caused by the ongoing climate change poses a direct threat to the subspecies, and climate change induced changes to the environment may have indirect effects, too.

West Antarctic coastal snow accumulation rose 30 percent during 20th century

Wed, 11/04/2015 - 11:46
Annual snow accumulation on West Antarctica's coastal ice sheet increased dramatically during the 20th century, according to a new study. The research gives scientists new insight into Antarctica's blanket of ice. Understanding how the ice sheet grows and shrinks over time enhances scientists' understanding of the processes that impact global sea levels.

The Greenland ice sheet contains nutrients from precipitation

Wed, 11/04/2015 - 11:46
The ice sheet on Greenland contains the nutrient phosphorus, which was carried by the atmosphere and fell with precipitation, new research shows. This new knowledge is important for understanding how many nutrients can be expected to flow into the Arctic Ocean when the climate warms and the ice melts and flows into the sea, where nutrients give rise to increased algae growth.