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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 51 min ago

Riddle of varying warm water inflow in the Arctic now solved

Thu, 09/21/2023 - 09:57
In the 'weather kitchen,' the interplay between the Azores High and Icelandic Low has a substantial effect on how much warm water the Atlantic transports to the Arctic along the Norwegian coast. But this rhythm can be thrown off for years at a time. Experts finally have an explanation for why: Due to unusual atmospheric pressure conditions over the North Atlantic, low-pressure areas are diverted from their usual track, which disrupts the coupling between the Azores High, the Icelandic Low and the winds off the Norwegian coast. This finding is an important step toward refining climate models and more accurately predicting the fate of Arctic sea ice in the face of progressing climate change.

Laser-based ice-core sampling for studying climate change

Tue, 09/19/2023 - 14:49
Researchers have developed a new laser-based sampling system for studying the composition of ice cores taken from glaciers. The new system has a 3-mm depth-resolution and is expected to help reconstruct continuous annual temperature changes that occurred thousands to hundreds of thousands of years ago, which will help scientists understand climate change in the past and present.

Glacier Loss Day indi­cates record break­ing glacier melt

Tue, 09/19/2023 - 14:48
In the summer of 2022, one of Tyrol's largest glaciers experienced its most significant loss of mass on record. Last year, the Hintereisferner in Tyrol, Austria, reached its Glacier Loss Day (GLD) earlier than ever before. The GLD serves as an indicator of a glacier's health throughout the year, similar to how the Earth Overshoot Day measures Earth's resource consumption.

Polar experiments reveal seasonal cycle in Antarctic sea ice algae

Thu, 09/14/2023 - 21:40
Results provide the first measurements of how sea-ice algae and other single-celled life adjust to the dramatic seasonal rhythms in the Southern Ocean. The results provide clues to what might happen as this ecosystem shifts under climate change.

New research reveals why and when the Sahara Desert was green

Wed, 09/13/2023 - 11:26
A pioneering study has shed new light on North African humid periods that have occurred over the past 800,000 years and explains why the Sahara Desert was periodically green.

New rivers in the North? Scientists identify how the dissection of Arctic landscapes is changing with accelerating climate change

Tue, 09/12/2023 - 10:35
New research shows that amplified global warming in the Canadian High Arctic drove a profound shift in the structure of a river network carved into a permafrost landscape in only 60 years.

Helicopter-based observations uncover warm ocean water flows toward Totten Ice Shelf in Southeast Antarctica

Mon, 09/11/2023 - 13:11
An international team of scientists has successfully conducted large-scale helicopter-based observations along the coast of East Antarctica and has identified pathways through which warm ocean water flows from the open ocean into ice shelf cavities for the first time.

Floating sea farms: A solution to feed the world and ensure fresh water by 2050

Mon, 09/11/2023 - 13:10
The sun and the sea -- both abundant and free -- are being harnessed in a unique project to create vertical sea farms floating on the ocean that can produce fresh water for drinking and agriculture.

Bursting air bubbles may play a key role in how glacier ice melts

Thu, 09/07/2023 - 12:03
New research has uncovered a possible clue as to why glaciers that terminate at the sea are retreating at unprecedented rates: the bursting of tiny, pressurized bubbles in underwater ice.

Stability inspection for West Antarctica shows: marine ice sheet is not destabilized yet, but possibly on a path to tipping

Thu, 09/07/2023 - 09:58
Antarctica's vast ice masses seem far away, yet they store enough water to raise global sea levels by several meters. A team of experts has now provided the first systematic stability inspection of the ice sheet's current state. Their diagnosis: While they found no indication of irreversible, self-reinforcing retreat of the ice sheet in West Antarctica yet, global warming to date could already be enough to trigger the slow but certain loss of ice over the next hundreds to thousands of years.

Blowing snow contributes to Arctic warming

Mon, 09/04/2023 - 12:31
Atmospheric scientists have discovered abundant fine sea salt aerosol production from wind-blown snow in the central Arctic, increasing seasonal surface warming.

New research explains 'Atlantification' of the Arctic Ocean

Fri, 09/01/2023 - 13:36
New research by an international team of scientists explains what's behind a stalled trend in Arctic Ocean sea ice loss since 2007. The findings indicate that stronger declines in sea ice will occur when an atmospheric feature known as the Arctic dipole reverses itself in its recurring cycle. The many environmental responses to the Arctic dipole are described in a recent article. This analysis helps explain how North Atlantic water influences Arctic Ocean climate. Scientists call it Atlantification.

Antarctic ice shelves thinner than previously thought

Fri, 09/01/2023 - 11:40
As global ice dams begin to weaken due to warming temperatures, a new study suggests that prior attempts to evaluate the mass of the huge floating ice shelves that line the Antarctic ice sheet may have overestimated their thickness.

Using evidence from last Ice Age, scientists predict effects of rising seas on coastal habitats

Thu, 08/31/2023 - 11:06
The rapid sea level rise and resulting retreat of coastal habitat seen at the end of the last Ice Age could repeat itself if global average temperatures rise beyond certain levels, according to an analysis by an international team of scientists.

Past abrupt changes in North Atlantic Overturning have impacted the climate system across the globe

Mon, 08/28/2023 - 15:23
Abrupt climate changes have affected rainfall patterns worldwide in the past, especially in the tropical monsoon region, a new study shows. An international team of scientists used dripstones from globally distributed caves together with model simulations to analyze the global impacts of rapid Northern-Hemisphere temperature increases, the widely studied Dansgaard-Oeschger events, that repeatedly occurred during the last ice age. The comparison of stalagmite and model data shows in unprecedented detail how these abrupt changes and the associated modifications of the Atlantic overturning circulation, AMOC for short, have affected global atmospheric circulation.

Due to sea-ice retreat, zooplankton could remain in the deep longer

Mon, 08/28/2023 - 12:03
Due to intensifying sea-ice melting in the Arctic, sunlight is now penetrating deeper and deeper into the ocean. Since marine zooplankton respond to the available light, this is also changing their behavior -- especially how the tiny organisms rise and fall within the water column. As an international team of researchers has now shown, in the future this could lead to more frequent food shortages for the zooplankton, and to negative effects for larger species including seals and whales.

Loss of Antarctic sea ice causes catastrophic breeding failure for emperor penguins

Thu, 08/24/2023 - 10:08
Emperor penguin colonies experienced unprecedented breeding failure in a region of Antarctica where there was total sea ice loss in 2022. The discovery supports predictions that over 90% of emperor penguin colonies will be quasi-extinct by the end of the century, based on current global warming trends.

Ice-free preservation method holds promise to protect reefs

Wed, 08/23/2023 - 15:54
An interdisciplinary team of researchers demonstrated that coral can be preserved through a new technique called isochoric vitrification. This process takes the selected coral fragments through the stages of cryopreservation and subsequent revival.

Thinning ice sheets may drive sharp rise in subglacial waters

Mon, 08/21/2023 - 14:32
A new study shows that water underneath glaciers may surge due to thinning ice sheets -- a dangerous feedback cycle that could increase glacial melt, sea level rise, and biological disturbances.

Unprecedented look at what influences sea ice motion in the Arctic

Wed, 08/16/2023 - 16:06
The in-depth analysis reveals how local tidal currents strongly affect the movement of sea ice in the Arctic ocean and provides an unprecedented look at how the makeup of the seafloor is causing some of the most abrupt changes.