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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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How Indigenous burning shaped the Klamath's forests for a millennia

Tue, 03/15/2022 - 13:18
A new study combines scientific data with Indigenous oral histories and ecological knowledge to show how the cultural burning practices of the Native people of the Klamath Mountains -- the Karuk and the Yurok tribes -- helped shape the region's forests for at least a millennia prior to European colonization.

Ancient El Niños reveal limits to future climate projections

Tue, 03/15/2022 - 13:18
The climate pattern El Niño varies to such a degree that scientists will have a hard time detecting signs that it is getting stronger with global warming. That's the conclusion of a study that analyzed 9,000 years of Earth's history. The scientists drew on climate data contained within ancient corals and used one of the world's most powerful supercomputers to conduct their research.

Combing the cosmos: New color catalog aids hunt for life on frozen worlds

Tue, 03/15/2022 - 13:17
Aided by microbes found in the subarctic conditions of Canada's Hudson Bay, an international team of scientists has created the first color catalog of icy planet surface signatures to uncover the existence of life in the cosmos.

Fast-melting alpine permafrost may contribute to rising global temperatures

Mon, 03/14/2022 - 17:14
Using lake sediment in the Tibetan Plateau, a team of researchers was able to show that permafrost at high elevations is more vulnerable than arctic permafrost under projected future climate conditions.

Rapid changes to the Arctic seafloor noted as submerged permafrost thaws

Mon, 03/14/2022 - 14:44
A new study has documented how the thawing of permafrost submerged underwater at the edge of the Arctic Ocean is affecting the seafloor.

Permafrost peatlands approaching tipping point

Mon, 03/14/2022 - 11:06
Researchers warn that permafrost peatlands in Europe and Western Siberia are much closer to a climatic tipping point than previous believed. The frozen peatlands in these areas store up to 39 billion tons of carbon -- the equivalent to twice that stored in the whole of European forests.

Greenland ice sheet may halve in volume by year 3000

Mon, 03/14/2022 - 09:56
As a result of global warming in the 21st century, the Greenland ice sheet may contribute several meters to sea-level rise in the centuries to come; however, effective climate change mitigation measures will greatly reduce its decay.

Ice sheet retreat and forest expansion turned ancient subtropical drylands into oases

Mon, 03/14/2022 - 09:56
Researchers focused on the climate of the Pliocene, over 3 million years ago, the last time Earth has seen concentrations of over 400 PPM CO2 in the atmosphere, similar to today's concentrations. The Pliocene prompts a long-standing question: despite the similarity to the present-day, why were dry areas like the Sahel in Africa and Northern China much wetter and greener in the Pliocene than they are today?

Past global photosynthesis reacted quickly to more carbon in the air

Thu, 03/10/2022 - 13:37
Ice cores allow climate researchers to look 800,000 years back in time: atmospheric carbon acts as fertilizer, increasing biological production. The mechanism removes carbon from the air and thereby dampens the acceleration in global warming.

New observations from ICESat-2 show remarkable Arctic sea ice thinning in just three years

Thu, 03/10/2022 - 13:37
Over the past two decades, the Arctic has lost about one-third of its winter sea ice volume, largely due to a decline in sea ice that persists over several years, called multiyear ice, according to a new study. The study also found sea ice is likely thinner than previous estimates. Seasonal sea ice, which melts completely each summer rather than accumulating over years, is replacing thicker, multiyear ice and driving sea ice thinning trends, according to the new research.

Ice-ocean interactions are accelerating melting in West Antarctica

Thu, 03/10/2022 - 13:37
An analysis of Antarctica's Pope, Smith and Kohler glaciers has revealed an aggressive pattern of retreat connected to high melt rates of floating ice in the Amundsen Sea Embayment sector of West Antarctica.

Giant impact crater in Greenland occurred a few million years after dinosaurs went extinct

Wed, 03/09/2022 - 13:08
Danish and Swedish researchers have dated the enormous Hiawatha impact crater, a 31 km-wide meteorite crater buried under a kilometer of Greenlandic ice. The dating ends speculation that the meteorite impacted after the appearance of humans and opens up a new understanding of Earth's evolution in the post-dinosaur era.

CO2 could be stored below ocean floor

Mon, 03/07/2022 - 10:31
Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges facing humanity. To combat its potentially catastrophic effects, scientists are searching for new technologies that could help the world reach carbon neutrality. One potential solution that is drawing growing attention is to capture and store carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the form of hydrates under ocean floor sediments, kept in place by the natural pressure created by the weight of the seawater above. A major question, however, has been how stable this stored CO2 would be for the extended periods of storage required to keep the carbon in place and out of the atmosphere. A research team has shown that CO2 hydrates, under the ocean's cold and high-pressure environment, can remain stable in oceanic sediments for up to 30 days. Going forward, the team says, the same process can be used to validate the stability of CO2 hydrates for much longer periods.

New technique unlocks ancient history of Earth from grains of sand

Tue, 03/01/2022 - 12:11
Researchers have developed a new technique by studying the age of ancient grains of sand from beaches, rivers and rocks from around the world to reveal previously hidden details of the Earth's distant geological past.

Seismic study reveals key reason why Patagonia is rising as glaciers melt

Mon, 02/28/2022 - 08:11
Geologists have discovered a link between recent ice mass loss, rapid rock uplift and a gap between tectonic plates that underlie Patagonia.

Ancient DNA reveals surprises about how early Africans lived, traveled and interacted

Wed, 02/23/2022 - 10:12
A new analysis of human remains that were buried in African archaeological sites has produced the earliest DNA from the continent, telling a fascinating tale of how early humans lived, traveled and even found their significant others.

Monitoring Arctic permafrost with satellites, supercomputers, and deep learning

Tue, 02/22/2022 - 12:54
Using deep learning and supercomputers, researchers have been able to identify and map 1.2 billion ice wedge polygons in the Arctic permafrost based on satellite imagery. The data helps establish a baseline from which to detect changes to the region. The researchers trained a deep learning system to identify Arctic features and TACC's Longhorn supercomputer to analyze the data. The ice wedge data will be available for rapid analysis on the new Permafrost Discovery Gateway.

Accelerating melt rate makes Greenland Ice Sheet world’s largest ‘dam’

Mon, 02/21/2022 - 14:52
The world's second-largest ice sheet is melting from the bottom up -- and generating huge amounts of heat from hydropower.

The formation of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet was very different than previously believed

Mon, 02/21/2022 - 07:57
Roughly 35 million years ago, Earth cooled rapidly. At roughly the same time, the Drake Passage formed between South America and the Antarctic, paving the way for the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. Thanks to these two factors, Antarctica was soon completely covered in ice. This massive glaciation was delayed in at least one region.

Unexpected fish and squid found in the Central Arctic Ocean

Fri, 02/18/2022 - 14:30
Single individuals of Atlantic cod and squid occur much further north than previously expected. Scientists have found fish and squid in deep water in the middle of the Arctic Ocean.