How an ice age begins and ends

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brian livesey
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How an ice age begins and ends

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A recent theory of how the ice age began challenges the theory of Milankovitch cycles, by saying that gases released by volcanic activity, dissolving rocks in mountain sutures, cooled the atmosphere. Now, a new theory complements the first by explaining how the last ice age ended.
It's been known for some time that a rise in carbon emissions played a role in ending the last ice age, but what mechanism caused the rise? Researchers studying deep-sea corals say the change was linked to very rapid changes in ocean currents around Antarctica.
"We found that the ocean around Antarctica can suddenly switch its circulation to deliver 'burps' of CO2 into the atmosphere," said Dr. James Rae, of the School of Environmental and Earth Sciences at the University of St. Andrews. Professor Laura Robinson, of the University of Bristol, added that the study, published in "Science Advances", "shows that deep ocean circulation can change surprisingly rapidly".
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