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Igloo

First Glaciers in Japan Recognized

Japanese Glaciers
© Tateyama Caldera Sabo Musuem / Kyodo
Coup de glacier: An ice gorge near Tateyama, Toyama Prefecture, that has been recognized as one of the three first glaciers found in Japan is shown last June. All three are in the Northern Alps.
Scientists have found three glaciers in Toyama Prefecture, the first recognized in Japan and the southernmost in East Asia.

Tateyama Caldera Sabo Museum discovered the three slow-moving chunks of ice in the Hida Mountain Range, otherwise known as the Northern Alps.

Their research paper submitted to the Japanese Society of Snow and Ice was accepted Tuesday, the museum said.

A glacier is defined as a large mass of ice that over many years "flows" owing to its great weight, according to the Japanese Society of Snow and Ice. They are often found on high mountains, such as the Himalayas, and have even been found on Mount Kilimanjaro, which is almost on the equator. Until now, the southernmost glaciers in East Asia were on Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula.

"We have known something similar to glaciers existed, so we checked to see if the masses of ice are moving," said Hajime Lida, a researcher for the museum.

Igloo

Carbon Dioxide Linked to End of Last Ice Age

CO2 and Ice Age
© Jeremy Shakun
This graph shows Antarctica warming up slightly before atmospheric carbon dioxide rose and well before global temperatures warmed. In a new study, researchers explain that a change in the Earth's orbit resulted in a change in ocean circulation that prompted the Antarctic to warm before the rest of the planet.

The circumstances that ended the last ice age, somewhere between 19,000 and 10,000 years ago, have been unclear. In particular, scientists aren't sure how carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, played into the giant melt.

New research indicates it did in fact help drive this prehistoric episode of global warming, even though it did not kick it off. A change in the Earth's orbit likely started of the melt, setting off a chain of events, according to the researchers.

The ambiguity about the end of the ice age originates in the Antarctic. Ice cores from the continent reveal a problematic time lag: Temperatures appeared to begin warming before atmospheric carbon dioxide increased. This has led scientists to question how increasing carbon dioxide - a frequently cited cause for global warming now and in the distant past - factored into the end of the last ice age. Global warming skeptics have also cited this as evidence carbon dioxide produced by humans is not responsible for modern global warming.

But the data from Antarctica alone offer too narrow a perspective to represent what was happening on a global scale, according to lead study researcher Jeremy Shakun of Harvard University.

"These ice cores only tell you about the temperatures in Antarctica where they are from, and if you think about today the same way, you don't want to look at one thermometer record from London or New York to prove or disprove global warming," Shakun said during a press conference on Tuesday (April 3).

Igloo

Climate Obstinately Refuses to Cooperate with Global Warming Alarmists

ice age
© Unknown
Are you worried about global warming during this unusually mild winter? Geeze, who would have expected to see 75º F March temperatures in Chicago? Or those earlier than usual cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C. which hasn't happened since 1946 (albeit, when atmospheric CO2 concentrations were 310 ppm vs. 385 ppm now)? Even regions of the Southern Hemisphere had a year with practically no winter temperatures.

So was Al Gore right after all? Perhaps you heard...he's been off to Antarctica watching the ice melt along with NASA's famous climate alarmist James Hansen, featured ClimateGate figure Kevin Trenberth, billionaire Richard Branson and about 100 other panicky pals. Their timing is perfect, offering a lot for them to observe. The Antarctic Peninsula sea ice expanse is nearly 200% greater now than usual.

For those of you here who would have preferred more typical sub-zero temperatures and rampaging tag team blizzards, I've also got some great news. While these conditions bypassed the continental U.S. this year for other locations, don't discard those flannel long johns just yet. There's every indication that you are going to need them over the next many years.

First, for a bit of background perspective, let's realize that climate change is very real, and has been going on for a very long time...dating back to always. It actually began to occur even before the advent of flatulent dinosaurs, industrial smoke stacks and SUVs. And although temperatures have been generally mild over about the past 150 years (since the end of the last "Little Ice Age"...not a true Ice Age), we should remember that significant fluctuations are normal. In fact the past century has witnessed two distinct periods of warming.

The first warming period occurred between 1900 and 1945. Since CO2 levels were relatively low then compared with now, and didn't change much, they couldn't have been the cause before 1950. The second, following a slight cool-down, began in 1975 and rose at quite a constant rate until 1998, a strong Pacific Ocean El Nino year. Yet U.K. Hadley Center and U.S. NOAA balloon instrument analyses fail to show any evidence, whatsoever, of a human CO2 emission-influenced warming telltale "signature" in the upper troposphere over the equator as predicted by all U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) global circulation models.

Sherlock

Ice Age Migration? New DNA study suggests people moved between continents before recorded history

Image
© Unknown
Early man: A third of people in modern Europe show genetic traces of populations from sub-Saharan Africa, leading researchers to conclude that people migrated between the continents as early as 11,000 years ago.
People moved between Africa and Europe long before recorded history - and the migrations might have been driven by Europeans moving south to 'weather' ice ages.

The genetic traces of long-forgotten migrations from Africa to Europe live on in Europeans today.

A third of the genetic traces of sub-Saharan lineages in today's Europe come from prehistory.

Researchers think that Europeans 'pushed south' by glaciers might have met with populations from sub-Saharan Africa.

People moved between the continents as early as 11,000 years ago.

Geneticists used mitochondrial DNA to look for the traces of ancient migrations.

Mitochondrial DNA is passed directly from mother to child with no DNA from the father - and tiny changes in the sequence come to 'characterise' different populations, which can be used to trace movements and migrations of groups of humans in the past.

Large numbers of people moved between Africa and Europe during recent and well-documented time periods such as the Roman Empire, the Arab conquest, and the slave trade - but the researchers found that a third of sub-Saharan lineages came from before these movements.

'It was very surprising to find that more than 35 percent of the sub-Saharan lineages in Europe arrived during a period that ranged from more than 11,000 years ago to the Roman Empire times,' said Dr. Antonio Salas of the University of Santiago de Compostela and senior author of the study.

Igloo

Ice Age Next? - Bering Sea Teeming with Ice

Ice Age
© NASA image by Rob Simmon based on data from Jeff Schmaltz
Acquired March 19, 2012.

For most of the winter of 2011 - 2012, the Bering Sea has been choking with sea ice. Though ice obviously forms there every year, the cover has been unusually extensive this season. In fact, the past several months have included the second highest ice extent in the satellite record for the Bering Sea region, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

The natural-color image above shows the Bering Sea and the coasts of Alaska and northeastern Siberia on March 19, 2012. The image was acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite. Black lines mark the coastlines, many of which have ice shelves or frozen bays extending beyond the land borders.

NSIDC data indicate that ice extent in the Bering Sea for most of this winter has been between 20 to 30 percent above the 1979 to 2000 average. February 2012 had the highest ice extent for the area since satellite records started. As of March 16, National Weather Service forecasters noted that all of the ice cover in the Bering Sea was first year ice, much of it new and thin - which is typical in the Bering Sea

The accumulation of ice this season has largely been fueled by persistent northerly winds blowing from the Arctic Ocean across the Bering Strait. The local winter weather has been dominated by low-pressure systems - with their counterclockwise circulation - that have brought extensive moisture up from the south to coastal and interior Alaska, while sending cold winds down across the sea to the west.

Snowflake

Alaska's largest city eyes snow record

elk,snow
© AP Photo/Rachel D'Oro
In this Thursday, March 15, 2012, photo, a juvenile moose is dwarfed by deep snow in Anchorage, Alaska. The state's largest city is 3.3 inches away from breaking its record snowfall of 132.6 inches that was set in the winter of 1954-55.
Anchorage, Alaska -- A near-record snowfall this winter has buried Anchorage neighborhoods, turning streets into snow-walled canyons and even collapsing some roofs.

But some residents are hoping for more, at least another 3.3 inches. Then they could say they made it through the winter when the nearly 60-year record of 132.6 inches was broken.

"I want it destroyed," resident Melissa Blair said. "I want to see another foot and knock that record out of the park."

Igloo

On the Footsteps of Climate Change: The Ice Age Cometh to Podgorica, Montenegro

Podgorica is the capital and largest city of Montenegro. Montenegro is situated on the southern Balkan Peninsula connected with the Adriatic Sea. In Podgorica, we have modified Mediterranean climate with warm dry summers and mild winters. Podgorica is particularly known for its exceptionally hot summers: temperatures above 40 ° C. The highest recorded temperature of 45.8 ° C measured on 16 August 2007. The snow is almost an unknown event in Podgorica. This winter the situation is completely different in Podgorica and especially the Northern part of Montenegro is blocked by snow, unprecedented in the last half century.


Hourglass

Not guilty! We did not kill the Neanderthals - ice age wiped them out, say scientists

Neanderthal man

Struggled: Neanderthal man, like above, fared worse than we thought during the Ice Age, according to experts
Neanderthals were not wiped out by humans - and faced extinction even before our ancestors migrated to Europe, according to scientists.

Debunking long-held claims that we introduced disease or brutally murdered them, researchers say our rival species was more likely to have succumbed to the Ice Age.

Only a small band survived that catastrophe which began 50,000 years ago, according to experts at Uppsala University analysing fossils in northern Spain.

They believe the last of the few perished 30,000 years ago after they were unable to deal with the brutal climate.

Our ancestors, who came from the east 40,000 years ago, however, were better suited to the cold conditions and weathered the storms.

Dr Love Dalén said: 'The fact that Neanderthals in Europe were nearly extinct, but then recovered, and that all this took place long before they came into contact with modern humans came as a complete surprise to us.

Snowflake

Why Britain Could Face Years of Arctic Winters Because of Dramatic Decline in Arctic Sea Ice

There is less Arctic sea ice now than there has been at any time in the past 1,450 years

Britain is facing years of freezing winters because of the dramatic decline in Arctic sea ice, say scientists.

Global warming means autumn levels of sea ice have dropped by almost 30 per cent since 1979 - but this is likely to trigger more frequent cold snaps such as those that brought blizzards to the UK earlier this month.

And Arctic sea ice could be to blame.

Image
© Associated Press
Cold facts: A reduction in Arctic ice is being blamed for increasingly severe winters in the Northern Hemisphere.

Igloo

Just in time for the ice age! Ancient plant brought back to life after being buried by squirrels in Siberian permafrost more than 30,000 years ago

As far a flowering pot plants go, the Silene stenophylla plant sitting in a corner of a Russian laboratory will not win many awards. The one award it will win, however, is pretty impressive: The most ancient, viable, multi-cellular, living organism on Earth.

The Silene stenophylla was brought back to life using seeds buried by squirrels in Siberian permafrost more than 30,000 years ago. The seeds have been held in suspended animation by the cold, which has served as a 'frozen gene pool', scientists say.
Image
© National News and Pictures
Still growing strong: After 30,500 years buried in permanently frozen soil, the Silene stenophylla bore fruit and bloomed petite white flowers