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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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East Antarctica melting could be explained by oceanic gateways

Mon, 03/16/2015 - 17:39
Researchers have discovered two seafloor gateways that could allow warm ocean water to reach the base of Totten Glacier, East Antarctica's largest and most rapidly thinning glacier. The discovery probably explains the glacier's extreme thinning and raises concerns about how it will affect sea level rise.

Past warming increased snowfall on Antarctica, affecting global sea level

Mon, 03/16/2015 - 12:54
A new study confirms that snowfall in Antarctica will increase significantly as the planet warms, offsetting future sea level rise from other sources -- but the effect will not be nearly as strong as many scientists previously anticipated because of other, physical processes.

Summer storm weakening leads to more persistent heat extremes

Thu, 03/12/2015 - 13:29
Storm activity in large parts of the US, Europe and Russia significantly calmed down during summers over the past decades, but this is no good news. The weakening of strong winds associated with the jetstream and weather systems prolongs and hence intensifies heat extremes like the one in Russia in 2010 which caused devastating crop failures and wildfires.

Epoch-defining study pinpoints when humans came to dominate planet Earth

Wed, 03/11/2015 - 15:04
The human-dominated geological epoch known as the Anthropocene probably began around the year 1610, with an unusual drop in atmospheric carbon dioxide and the irreversible exchange of species between the New and Old Worlds, according to new research.

Saturn moon's ocean may harbor hydrothermal activity, spacecraft data suggest

Wed, 03/11/2015 - 13:08
NASA's Cassini spacecraft has provided scientists the first clear evidence that Saturn's moon Enceladus exhibits signs of present-day hydrothermal activity which may resemble that seen in the deep oceans on Earth. The implications of such activity on a world other than our planet open up unprecedented scientific possibilities.

Blue blood on ice: How an Antarctic octopus survives the cold

Tue, 03/10/2015 - 19:57
An Antarctic octopus that lives in ice-cold water uses an unique strategy to transport oxygen in its blood, according to new research. The study suggests that the octopus's specialized blood pigments could help to make it more resilient to climate change than Antarctic fish and other species of octopus.

NASA's Soil Moisture Mapper takes first 'SMAPshots'

Tue, 03/10/2015 - 16:50
Fresh off the recent successful deployment of its 20-foot (6-meter) reflector antenna and associated boom arm, NASA's new Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory has successfully completed a two-day test of its science instruments.

Same forces as today caused climate changes 1.4 billion years ago

Tue, 03/10/2015 - 11:33
Natural forces have always caused the climate on Earth to fluctuate. Now researchers have found geological evidence that some of the same forces as today were at play 1.4 billion years ago.

Friction means Antarctic glaciers more sensitive to climate change than we thought

Tue, 03/10/2015 - 09:52
A new study finds that incorporating Coulomb friction into computer models increases the sensitivity of Antarctic ice sheets to temperature perturbations driven by climate change.

Earth's climate is starting to change faster, new research shows

Mon, 03/09/2015 - 12:46
Earth is now entering a period of changing climate that will likely be faster than what's occurred naturally over the last thousand years, according to a new article, committing people to live through and adapt to a warming world.

Atmosphere above Africa: Clouds and aerosol measurements

Fri, 03/06/2015 - 12:28
From Saharan dust storms to icy clouds to smoke on the opposite side of the continent, the first image from NASA's newest cloud- and aerosol-measuring instrument, CATS, provides a profile of the atmosphere above Africa.

Evidence from glacier ice: Until it was banned, leaded gasoline dominated the humanmade lead emissions in South America

Fri, 03/06/2015 - 12:26
Leaded gasoline was a larger emission source of the toxic heavy metal lead than mining in South America - even though the extraction of metals from the region's mines historically released huge quantities of lead into the environment. Researchers have discovered evidence of the dominance of leaded gasoline based on measurements in an ice core from a Bolivian glacier. The scientists found that lead from road traffic in the neighboring countries polluted the air twice as heavily as regional mining from the 1960s onwards.

Stuck-in-the-mud plankton reveal ancient temperatures

Fri, 03/06/2015 - 09:27
New research showing how tiny creatures drifted across the ocean before falling to the seafloor and being fossilized has the potential to improve our understanding of past climates, scientists say.

Melting glaciers create noisiest places in ocean, study says

Fri, 03/06/2015 - 09:26
Researchers measure underwater noise in Alaskan and Antarctic fjords and find them to be the noisiest places in the ocean. This leads researchers to ask how animals such as whales and seals use the noise and what will happen to fjord ecosystems once the glaciers recede and the noise disappears.

NASA Ames reproduces the building blocks of life in laboratory

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 08:35
NASA scientists studying the origin of life have reproduced uracil, cytosine, and thymine, three key components of our hereditary material, in the laboratory. They discovered that an ice sample containing pyrimidine exposed to ultraviolet radiation under space-like conditions produces these essential ingredients of life.

New data provided by seabed sediments on the climate within the Mediterranean basin over the course of the last 20,000 years

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 06:53
Scientists have found new data on the weather in the Mediterranean basin over the course of the past 20.000 years thanks to the chemical composition of sediments deposited in its seabed.

Combined Arctic ice observations show decades of loss

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 08:58
Historic submarine and modern satellite records show that average ice thickness in the central Arctic Ocean dropped by 65 percent from 1975 to 2012. September ice thickness, when the ice cover is at a minimum, dropped by 85 percent.

Genetics reveals where emperor penguins survived the last ice age

Sun, 03/01/2015 - 08:21
A study of how climate change has affected emperor penguins over the last 30,000 years found that only three populations may have survived during the last ice age, and that the Ross Sea in Antarctica was likely the refuge for one of these populations. The Ross Sea is likely to have been a shelter for emperor penguins for thousands of years during the last ice age, when much of the rest of Antarctica was uninhabitable due to the amount of ice. The findings suggest that while current climate conditions may be optimal for emperor penguins, conditions in the past were too extreme for large populations to survive.

Sun has more impact on the climate in cool periods

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 10:27
The activity of the Sun is an important factor in the complex interaction that controls our climate. New research now shows that the impact of the Sun is not constant over time, but has greater significance when the Earth is cooler.

Submarine data used to investigate turbulence beneath Arctic ice

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 10:25
Using recently released Royal Navy submarine data, researchers have investigated the nature of turbulence in the ocean beneath the Arctic sea-ice. Recent decreases in Arctic sea ice may have a big impact on the circulation, chemistry and biology of the Arctic Ocean, due to ice-free waters becoming more turbulent. By revealing more about how these turbulent motions distribute energy within the ocean, the findings from this study provide information important for accurate predictions of the future of the Arctic Ocean.