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Ice core drilling effort involving CU-Boulder should help assess abrupt climate change risks

An international science team involving the University of Colorado at Boulder that is working on the North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling project hit bedrock July 27 after two summers of work, drilling down more than 1.5 miles in an effort to help assess the risks of abrupt future climate change on Earth. Led by Denmark and the United States, the team recovered ice from the Eemian interglacial period from about 115,000 to 130,000 years ago, a time when temperatures were 3.6 to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit above today's temperatures. During the Eemian -- the most recent interglacial period on Earth -- there was substantially less ice on Greenland, and sea levels were more than 15 feet higher than today.

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Drilling project hits Greenland bedrock

The North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling (NEEM) project earlier this week reached the bedrock at a depth of exactly 2537.36 metres. The drill, carried out by a 14-nation consortium under Danish leadership, had started in 2007 at a site in northern Greenland. More than 300 ice core researchers have since worked at the remote NEEM camp. Scientists involved in the project can now begin to study in detail climatic characteristics of the Eemian period 130,000 to 115.00 before present. The Eemian, the second-to-latest interglacial period of the current ice age (the most recent being our own), is thought to be a good analogue to the world’s greenhouse future.

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Melting ice patch near Yellowstone National Park reveals ancient hunting weapon

For more than 10,000 years a hunter's spear-like atlatl dart rested on a windswept mountainside not far from Yellowstone National Park. Then, late in 2007, Craig Lee spotted the branch-like dart shaft in the debris of a melting ice patch.

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CU-Boulder researcher Craig Lee finds artifacts preserved in melting ice patches

Craig Lee spends his summers hunting for treasure in the Rocky Mountains and occasionally he strikes gold. But it's not literally gold that the University of Colorado adjunct instructor and his research team are finding tucked away in ice patches along the Rockies. It's centuries-old artifacts that have been frozen in time and are beginning to make their way to the surface as global warming dissolves their icy tombs. Pieces of animal remains and Native American baskets and clothing are among the typical discoveries brought back from one of Lee's treks.

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CU researcher finds 10,000-year-old hunting weapon in melting ice patch

CU-Boulder Research Associate Craig Lee recently discovered a 10,000-year-old wooden hunting weapon, an atlatl dart, melting out of an ice patch high in the Rocky Mountains close to Yellowstone National Park. Lee, a specialist in the emerging field of ice patch archaeology, said the dart had been frozen in the ice patch for 10 millennia and that climate change has increased global temperatures and accelerated melting of permanent ice fields exposing organic materials that have long been entombed in the ice. As glaciers and ice fields continue to melt at an unprecedented rate, increasingly older and significant artifacts--as well as plant material, animal carcasses and ancient feces--are being released from the ice that has gripped them for thousands of years.

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Link discovered between carbon, nitrogen may provide new ways to mitigate pollution problems

A new study exploring the growing worldwide problem of nitrogen pollution from soils to the sea shows that global ratios of nitrogen and carbon in the environment are inexorably linked, a finding that may lead to new strategies to help mitigate regional problems ranging from contaminated waterways to human health. The CU-Boulder study found the ratio between nitrates--a naturally occurring form of nitrogen found in soils, streams, lakes and oceans--and organic carbon is closely governed by ongoing microbial processes that occur in virtually all ecosystems. The team combed exhaustive databases containing millions of sample points from tropical, temperate, boreal and polar sites, including well-known, nitrogen-polluted areas like Chesapeake Bay, the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

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