Tag Archives: last ice age

Chilling climate revelations from the last ice age

Study shows major changes in ice and temperatures could cause abrupt effects farther away

About 14,000 years ago, the southwest United States was lush and green, home to saber-toothed cats and mammoths. Meanwhile, the Pacific Northwest was mostly grassland. (more…)

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Climate Change Winners and Losers

The Antarctic Peninsula, the northern most region of Antarctica, is experiencing some of the most dramatic changes due to climate warming, including population declines of some penguin species.

This is not the first time that region has felt the effects of climate warming. How did penguins respond to the melting of snow and ice cover 11,000 years ago at the end of the last Ice Age? (more…)

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Dust in the wind drove iron fertilization during ice age

Researchers from Princeton University and the Swiss Federal Institute of Techonology in Zurich have confirmed that during the last ice age iron fertilization caused plankton to thrive in a region of the Southern Ocean.

The study published in Science confirms a longstanding hypothesis that wind-borne dust carried iron to the region of the globe north of Antarctica, driving plankton growth and eventually leading to the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. (more…)

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UCLA study yields more accurate data on thousands of years of climate change

Research also helps unravel the mystery of retreating glaciers in the Pacific Ocean’s western tropics

Using a cutting-edge research technique, UCLA researchers have reconstructed the temperature history of a region that plays a major role in determining climate around the world.

The findings, published online Feb. 27 in the journal Nature Geoscience, will help inform scientists about the processes influencing global warming in the western tropical Pacific Ocean. (more…)

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Earth orbit changes were key to Antarctic warming that ended last ice age

For more than a century scientists have known that Earth’s ice ages are caused by the wobbling of the planet’s orbit, which changes its orientation to the sun and affects the amount of sunlight reaching higher latitudes, particularly the polar regions.

The Northern Hemisphere’s last ice age ended about 20,000 years ago, and most evidence has indicated that the ice age in the Southern Hemisphere ended about 2,000 years later, suggesting that the south was responding to warming in the north.

But new research published online Aug. 14 in Nature shows that Antarctic warming began at least two, and perhaps four, millennia earlier than previously thought. (more…)

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Scientists solve a 14,000-year-old ocean mystery

At the end of the last Ice Age, as the world began to warm, a swath of the North Pacific Ocean came to life. During a brief pulse of biological productivity 14,000 years ago, this stretch of the sea teemed with phytoplankton, amoeba-like foraminifera and other tiny creatures, who thrived in large numbers until the productivity ended—as mysteriously as it began—just a few hundred years later.

Researchers have hypothesized that iron sparked this surge of ocean life, but a new study led by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) scientists and colleagues at the University of Bristol (UK), the University of Bergen (Norway), Williams College and the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University suggests iron may not have played an important role after all, at least in some settings. The study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, determines that a different mechanism—a transient “perfect storm” of nutrients and light—spurred life in the post-Ice Age Pacific. Its findings resolve conflicting ideas about the relationship between iron and biological productivity during this time period in the North Pacific—with potential implications for geo-engineering efforts to curb climate change by seeding the ocean with iron.   (more…)

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Scientists Explore Roots of Future Tropical Rainfall

Analysis of the Last Glacial Maximum sheds light on climate models’ ability to simulate tropical climate change

How will rainfall patterns across the tropical Indian and Pacific regions change in a future warming world? Climate models generally suggest that the tropics as a whole will get wetter, but the models don’t always agree on where rainfall patterns will shift in particular regions within the tropics.

A new study, published online May 19 in the journal Nature Geoscience, looks to the past to learn about the future of tropical climate change, and our ability to simulate it with numerical models. (more…)

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UCLA study shows warming in central China greater than most climate models indicated

Temperatures in central China are 10 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit hotter today than they were 20,000 years ago, during the last ice age, UCLA researchers report — an increase two to four times greater than many scientists previously thought.

The findings, published on May 14, 2013, in the early online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could help researchers develop more accurate models of past climate change and better predict such changes in the future. (more…)

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