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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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Boreal peatlands not a global warming time bomb

Wed, 06/10/2015 - 08:34
To some scientists studying climate change, boreal peatlands are considered a potential ticking time bomb. With huge stores of carbon in peat, the fear is that rising global temperatures could cause the release of massive amounts of CO2 from the peatlands into the atmosphere -- essentially creating a greenhouse gas feedback loop. A new study challenges that notion.

Flash flood risks increase as storm peak downpours intensify

Mon, 06/08/2015 - 11:01
Thirty-year weather records from 79 locations across Australia reveal peak downpours during storms are intensifying at warmer temperatures across all climate zones, leading to greater flash flood risks in cities.

Weathering, river discharge surprisingly constant during Ice Age cycles

Mon, 06/08/2015 - 11:01
Contrary to expectations, weathering rates over the past two million years have remained constant through glacial cycles, new research shows. Scientists are interested in the rates of these chemical weathering processes because they have big implications for the planet's carbon cycle, which shuttles carbon dioxide between land, sea, and air and influences global temperatures.

Interruption of Gulf Stream may lead to large cooling in Europe

Thu, 06/04/2015 - 07:45
A new record of past climate change shows that a warm climate in northern Europe can be hit by a sudden cooling associated with an interruption of the North Atlantic Ocean circulation and the Gulf Stream. This study investigates the development of northern European climate about 120 thousand years ago.

NASA's Operation IceBridge concludes 2015 Arctic campaign

Wed, 06/03/2015 - 17:20
Operation IceBridge wrapped up its seventh Arctic deployment on May 21, when NASA's C-130 research aircraft with the mission's researchers and instruments on board departed Thule Air Base in Greenland and headed to NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Draining lakes unlikely to worsen Greenland's contribution to sea levels

Wed, 06/03/2015 - 17:20
Each summer, Greenland's ice sheet -- the world's second-largest expanse of ice, measuring three times the size of Texas -- begins to melt. Pockets of melting ice form hundreds of large, 'supraglacial' lakes on the surface of the ice. Many of these lakes drain through cracks and crevasses in the ice sheet, creating a liquid layer over which massive chunks of ice can slide. This natural conveyor belt can speed ice toward the coast, where it eventually falls off into the sea. Now researchers have found that while warming temperatures are creating more inland lakes, these lakes cannot drain their water locally, as lakes along the coast do, and are not likely to change the amount of water reaching the ground in inland regions.

Sudden draining of glacial lakes explained

Wed, 06/03/2015 - 12:22
In 2008 scientists documented for the first time how the icy bottoms of lakes atop the Greenland Ice Sheet can crack open suddenly -- draining the lakes completely within hours and sending torrents of water to the base of the ice sheet thousands of feet below. Now they have found a surprising mechanism that triggers the cracks.

Climate-change sceptics are more ambivalent than we thought

Tue, 06/02/2015 - 06:49
Using a brand new survey method, researchers have asked a broad spectrum of people in Norway about their thoughts on climate change. The answers are quite surprising.

Ancient algae found deep in tropical glacier

Mon, 06/01/2015 - 11:26
Researchers looking for carbon in equatorial ice cores have found diatoms, a type of algae. Their presence is evidence of what the landscape around the Andes in Peru might have been like more than a millennium ago.

The ebb and flow of Greenland's glaciers

Mon, 06/01/2015 - 11:25
In northwestern Greenland, glaciers flow from the main ice sheet to the ocean in see-sawing seasonal patterns. The ice generally flows faster in the summer than in winter, and the ends of glaciers, jutting out into the ocean, also advance and retreat with the seasons. Now, a new analysis shows some important connections between these seasonal patterns, sea ice cover and longer-term trends.

New study shows influence on climate of fresh water during last ice age

Thu, 05/28/2015 - 13:29
A new study shows how huge influxes of fresh water into the North Atlantic Ocean from icebergs calving off North America during the last ice age had an unexpected effect -- they increased the production of methane in the tropical wetlands.

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.