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Climate change mystery solved: Ancient sea ice loss spurred Antarctic cold reversal

Climate change mystery solved: Ancient sea ice loss spurred Antarctic cold reversal

Science
June 22 (UPI) -- A mysterious period of climate change, known as the Antarctic cold reversal, was triggered by the rapid loss of sea ice nearly 15,000 years ago, according to a study published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience. At the end of the last ice age, some 18,000 years ago, atmospheric carbon levels began to rise, Earth's glaciers started receding and the world steadily warmed. But this period of warming didn't proceed uninterrupted. It happened in fits and starts. Advertisement One fit, beginning 14,600 years ago, was particularly pronounced: the Antarctic cold reversal. After a period of greenhouse warming, atmospheric CO2 levels plateaued -- remaining at 240 parts per million for 1,900 years. Scientists weren't sure what caused the plateau, but researchers recently found ...
Continental growth spurt spurred Earth's first snow, study suggests

Continental growth spurt spurred Earth's first snow, study suggests

Science
May 25 (UPI) -- Scientists believe Earth's first snow fell some 2.4 billion years ago. According to a new study, the flurries arrived as a result of a continental growth spurt. The link between rising coastal elevations and the planet's first snowflakes -- detailed this week in the journal Nature -- was revealed by isotopic analysis of 278 shale samples, collected from all over the world. Shale, formed by the weathering of the planet's crust, is Earth's most abundant sedimentary rock. The chemical composition of shale samples can reveal details about its exposure to air, light and precipitation. "The process of forming shale captures organic products and eventually helps to generate oil," University of Oregon geologist Ilya Bindeman said in a news release. "Shales provide us with a conti...