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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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Origins of the Avars elucidated with ancient DNA

Fri, 04/01/2022 - 11:21
Less known than Attila's Huns, the Avars were their more successful successors. They ruled much of Central and Eastern Europe for almost 250 years. We know that they came from Central Asia in the sixth century CE, but ancient authors and modern historians debated their provenance. Now, a multidisciplinary research team of geneticists, archaeologists and historians has obtained and studied the first ancient genomes from the most important Avar elite sites discovered in contemporary Hungary. This study traces the genetic origin of the Avar elite to a faraway region of East Central Asia. It provides direct genetic evidence for one of the largest and most rapid long-distance migrations in ancient human history.

Meltwater drainage, break-away icebergs linked at shrinking Helheim Glacier

Thu, 03/31/2022 - 11:12
Dark patches of open sea that appear in the ice-choked water around Helheim Glacier may reveal new clues about how a rapidly changing Greenland glacier loses ice, according to scientists.

Million-year-old Arctic sedimentary record sheds light on climate mystery

Thu, 03/31/2022 - 09:16
New research provides a continuous look at a shift in climate, called the Mid-Pleistocene Transition, that has puzzled scientists.

Argon found in air of ancient atmosphere

Wed, 03/30/2022 - 09:33
Researchers have discovered argon trapped in air-hydrate crystals in ice cores, which can be used to reconstruct past temperature changes and climate shifts.

Solid aerosols found in Arctic atmosphere could impact cloud formation and climate

Mon, 03/28/2022 - 15:53
Solid aerosols can change how clouds form in the Arctic. And, as the Arctic loses ice, researchers expect to see more of these unique particles formed from oceanic emissions combined with ammonia from birds, which will impact cloud formation and climate. Additionally, understanding the characteristics of aerosols in the atmosphere is critical for improving the ability of climate models to predict current and future climate in the Arctic and beyond.

Solar energy explains fast yearly retreat of Antarctica's sea ice

Mon, 03/28/2022 - 10:23
Sea ice around Antarctica retreats more quickly than it advances, an asymmetry that has been a puzzle. New analysis shows that the Southern Hemisphere is following simple rules of physics, as peak midsummer sun causes rapid changes. In this respect, it seems, it's Arctic sea ice that is more mysterious.

Artificial hail for more accurate weather forecasts

Fri, 03/25/2022 - 13:46
A vertical wind tunnel has supplied important data to facilitate the prediction of heavy rain, hail, and graupel precipitation.

Rapid glacial advance reconstructed during the time of Norse occupation in Greenland

Fri, 03/25/2022 - 08:39
The Greenland Ice Sheet is the second largest ice body in the world, and it has the potential to contribute significantly to global sea-level rise in a warming global climate. Understanding the long-term record of the Greenland Ice Sheet, including both records of glacial advance and retreat, is critical in validating approaches that model future ice-sheet scenarios. However, this reconstruction can be extremely challenging. A new study has reconstructed the advance of one of the largest tidewater glaciers in Greenland to provide a better understanding of long-term glacial dynamics.

Birds are laying their eggs a month earlier, and climate change is to blame

Fri, 03/25/2022 - 08:38
By comparing century-old eggs preserved in museum collections to modern observations, scientists were able to determine that about a third of the bird species nesting in Chicago have are laying their eggs a month earlier than they were a hundred years ago. As far as the researchers can tell, the culprit in this shift is climate change.

Rewriting the history books: Why the Vikings left Greenland

Wed, 03/23/2022 - 14:16
One of the great mysteries of late medieval history is why did the Norse, who had established successful settlements in southern Greenland in 985, abandon them in the early 15th century? The consensus view has long been that colder temperatures, associated with the Little Ice Age, helped make the colonies unsustainable. However, new research upends that old theory. It wasn't dropping temperatures that helped drive the Norse from Greenland, but drought.

Effects of ancient carbon releases suggest possible scenarios for future climate

Wed, 03/16/2022 - 13:57
A massive release of greenhouse gases, likely triggered by volcanic activity, caused a period of extreme global warming known as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) about 56 million years ago. A new study now confirms that the PETM was preceded by a smaller episode of warming and ocean acidification caused by a shorter burst of carbon emissions. The short-lived precursor event represents what might happen if current emissions can be shut down quickly, while the much more extreme global warming of the PETM shows the consequences of continuing to release carbon into the atmosphere at the current rate.

Ancient ice reveals scores of gigantic volcanic eruptions

Wed, 03/16/2022 - 10:50
Ice cores drilled in Antarctica and Greenland have revealed gigantic volcanic eruptions during the last ice age. Sixty-nine of these were larger than any eruption in modern history. According to the physicists behind the research, these eruptions can teach us about our planet's sensitivity to climate change.

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?