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Early Climate

Cosmic rays alter chemistry of lunar ice, may create building blocks of life

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1000pa (Mar. 19, 2012) — Space scientists from the University of New Hampshire and multi-institutional colleagues report they have quantified levels of radiation on the moon's surface from galactic cosmic ray (GCR) bombardment that over time causes chemical changes in water ice and can create complex carbon chains similar to those that help form the foundations of biological structures. In addition, the radiation process causes the lunar soil, or regolith, to darken over time, which is important in understanding the geologic history of the moon.

The scientists present their findings in a paper published online in the American Geophysical Union's Journal of Geophysical Research (JGR). The paper, titled "Lunar Radiation...

New study lowers estimate of ancient sea-level rise

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1000pa (Mar. 14, 2012) — The seas are creeping higher as the planet warms, but scientists have not yet reached a consensus about how high they may go. Projections for the year 2100 range from inches to several feet, or more. The sub-tropical islands of Bermuda and the Bahamas contain important sites where researchers have gone looking for answers. By pinpointing where shorelines stood on cliffs and reefs there during an extremely warm period 400,000 years ago, they hope to narrow the...

New research supports theory of extraterrestrial impact

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1000pa (Mar. 5, 2012) — A 16-member international team of researchers that includes James Kennett, professor of earth science at UC Santa Barbara, has identified a nearly 13,000-year-old layer of thin, dark sediment buried in the floor of Lake Cuitzeo in central Mexico. The sediment layer contains an exotic assemblage of materials, including nanodiamonds, impact spherules, and more, which, according to the researchers, are the result of a cosmic body impacting Earth.

These new...

Demise of early large animals caused by both humans and climate change

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1000pa (Mar. 5, 2012) — Research provides new insights about what caused the extinction of many of the world's big animals over the last 100,000 years.

Past waves of extinctions which removed some of the world's largest animals were caused by both people and climate change, according to new research from the University of Cambridge. Their findings were reported March 5, in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

By examining extinctions during the late...

Tree rings may underestimate climate response to volcanic eruptions

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1000pa (Feb. 5, 2012) — Some climate cooling caused by past volcanic eruptions may not be evident in tree-ring reconstructions of temperature change because large enough temperature drops lead to greatly shortened or even absent growing seasons, according to climate researchers, who compared tree-ring temperature reconstructions with model simulations of past temperature changes.

"We know these tree rings capture most temperature changes quite well," said Michael Mann, professor...

Was the Little Ice Age triggered by massive volcanic eruptions?

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1000pa (Jan. 30, 2012) — A new international study may answer contentious questions about the onset and persistence of Earth's Little Ice Age, a period of widespread cooling that lasted for hundreds of years until the late 19th century.

The study, led by the University of Colorado Boulder with co-authors at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and other organizations, suggests that an unusual, 50-year-long episode of four massive tropical volcanic eruptions...

New study may answer questions about enigmatic Little Ice Age

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1000pa (Jan. 30, 2012) — A new University of Colorado Boulder-led study appears to answer contentious questions about the onset and cause of Earth's Little Ice Age, a period of cooling temperatures that began after the Middle Ages and lasted into the late 19th century.

According to the new study, the Little Ice Age began abruptly between A.D. 1275 and 1300, triggered by repeated, explosive volcanism and sustained by a self- perpetuating sea ice-ocean feedback system in the North...

Could Siberian volcanism have caused the Earth's largest extinction event?

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1000pa (Jan. 9, 2012) — Around 250 million years ago, at the end of the Permian geologic period, there was a mass extinction so severe that it remains the most traumatic known species die-off in Earth's history. Although the cause of this event is a mystery, it has been speculated that the eruption of a large swath of volcanic rock in Russia called the Siberian Traps was a trigger for the extinction. New research from Carnegie's Linda...

1000pa (Jan. 9, 2012) — Around 250 million years...

Paleoclimate record points toward potential rapid climate changes

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1000pa (Dec. 8, 2011) — New research into Earth's paleoclimate history by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies director James E. Hansen suggests the potential for rapid climate changes this century, including multiple meters of sea level rise, if global warming is not abated.

By looking at how Earth's climate responded to past natural changes, Hansen sought insight into a fundamental question raised by ongoing human-caused climate...

1000pa (Dec. 8, 2011) — New research into Earth's...

Global sea surface temperature data provides new measure of climate sensitivity over the last half million years

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1000pa (Dec. 6, 2011) — Scientists have developed important new insight into the sensitivity of global temperature to changes in Earth's radiation balance over the last half million years.

The sensitivity of global temperature to changes in Earth's radiation balance (climate sensitivity) is a key parameter for understanding past natural climate changes as well as potential future climate change.

In a study in Journal of Climate, researchers...

1000pa (Dec. 6, 2011) — Scientists have...

Simultaneous ice melt in Antarctic and Arctic

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1000pa (Dec. 2, 2011) — The end of the last ice age and the processes that led to the melting of the northern and southern ice sheets supply basic information on changes in our climate. Although the maximum size of the ice sheet in the northern hemisphere during the last ice age is relatively well known, there is little reliable data on the dimensions of the Antarctic ice sheet. A publication appearing in the journal Science on 1 December...

1000pa (Dec. 2, 2011) — The end of the last ice...

Drop in carbon dioxide levels led to polar ice sheet, study finds

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1000pa (Dec. 1, 2011) — A drop in carbon dioxide appears to be the driving force that led to the Antarctic ice sheet's formation, according to a recent study led by scientists at Yale and Purdue universities of molecules from ancient algae found in deep-sea core samples.

The key role of the greenhouse gas in one of the biggest climate events in Earth's history supports carbon dioxide's importance in past climate change and implicates it as...

1000pa (Dec. 1, 2011) — A drop in carbon...

Plunge in CO2 put the freeze on Antarctica

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1000pa (Dec. 1, 2011) — Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels plunged by 40 percent before and during the formation of the Antarctic ice sheet 34 million years ago, according to a new study. The finding helps solve a long-standing scientific puzzle and confirms the power of C02 to dramatically alter global climate.

The study by an international team, published in the journal Science, is the first multidisciplinary research of its kind to show...

1000pa (Dec. 1, 2011) — Atmospheric carbon...

Plunge in CO<sub>2</sub> put the freeze on Antarctica

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1000pa (Dec. 1, 2011) — Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels plunged by 40 percent before and during the formation of the Antarctic ice sheet 34 million years ago, according to a new study. The finding helps solve a long-standing scientific puzzle and confirms the power of C02 to dramatically alter global climate.

The study by an international team, published in the journal Science, is the first multidisciplinary research of its kind to show that C02 was tracking global cooling at...

Rise of atmospheric oxygen more complicated than previously thought

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1000pa (Dec. 1, 2011) — The appearance of oxygen in Earth's atmosphere probably did not occur as a single event, but as a long series of starts and stops, according to an international team of researchers who investigated rock cores from the FAR DEEP project.

The Fennoscandia Arctic Russia -- Drilling Early Earth Project -- FAR DEEP -- took place during the summer of 2007 near Murmansk in the northwest region of Russia. The project, part of...

1000pa (Dec. 1, 2011) — The appearance of...

Climate sensitivity to CO2 more limited than extreme projections

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1000pa (Nov. 24, 2011) — A new study suggests that the rate of global warming from doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide may be less than the most dire estimates of some previous studies -- and, in fact, may be less severe than projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report in 2007.

Authors of the study, which was funded by the National Science Foundation's Paleoclimate Program and published online this week in the...

1000pa (Nov. 24, 2011) — A new study suggests that...

Climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide more limited than extreme projections, research shows

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1000pa (Nov. 24, 2011) — A new study suggests that the rate of global warming from doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide may be less than the most dire estimates of some previous studies -- and, in fact, may be less severe than projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report in 2007.

Authors of the study, which was funded by the National Science Foundation's Paleoclimate Program and published online this week in the...

1000pa (Nov. 24, 2011) — A new study suggests that...

Massive volcanoes, meteorite impacts delivered one-two death punch to dinosaurs

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1000pa (Nov. 17, 2011) — A cosmic one-two punch of colossal volcanic eruptions and meteorite strikes likely caused the mass-extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous period that is famous for killing the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, according to two Princeton University reports that reject the prevailing theory that the extinction was caused by a single large meteorite.

Princeton-led researchers found that a trail of dead plankton...

1000pa (Nov. 17, 2011) — A cosmic one-two punch...

Methane may be answer to 56-million-year question: Ocean could have contained enough methane to cause drastic climate change

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1000pa (Nov. 9, 2011) — The release of massive amounts of carbon from methane hydrate frozen under the seafloor 56 million years ago has been linked to the greatest change in global climate since a dinosaur-killing asteroid presumably hit Earth 9 million years earlier. New calculations by researchers at Rice University show that this long-controversial scenario is quite possible.

Nobody knows for sure what started the incident, but there's...

1000pa (Nov. 9, 2011) — The release of massive...

Scientists find evidence of ancient megadrought in southwestern U.S.

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1000pa (Nov. 6, 2011) — A new study at the the University of Arizona's Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research has revealed a previously unknown multi-decade drought period in the second century A.D. The findings give evidence that extended periods of aridity have occurred at intervals throughout our past.

Almost 900 years ago, in the mid-12th century, the southwestern U.S. was in the middle of a multi-decade megadrought. It was the most recent...

1000pa (Nov. 6, 2011) — A new study at the the...

Humans and climate contributed to extinctions of large Ice Age mammals, new study finds

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1000pa (Nov. 2, 2011) — The genetic history of six large herbivores -- the woolly rhinoceros, woolly mammoth, wild horse, reindeer, bison, and musk ox -- has shown that both climate change and humans were responsible for the extinction or near extinction of large mammal populations within the last 10,000 years. The study, which is the first to use genetic, archeological, and climatic data together to infer the population history of...

1000pa (Nov. 2, 2011) — The genetic history of six...

First Bird

First Bird
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Unexplained artifacts

unexplained artifacts
The 10 most amazing unexplained artifacts

Evolution

Timeline: Human Evolution

Biggest Dinosaurs

The 10 Biggest Dinosaurs

Fossils 

Fossil Formation: How Do Fossils Form?
 

Book review

Dinosaurs Encyclopedia

Book Review

Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages ... WRITTEN BY A PROFESSIONAL paleontologist specifically for young readers, this guide to the Dinosauria is packed...