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A diagram of a lunar eclipse from De Sphaera Mundi by Johannes de Sacrobosco, c. 1240 AD. New York Public Library

‘Like blood, then turned into darkness’: how medieval manuscripts link lunar eclipses, volcanoes and climate change

Medieval monks recorded hundreds of lunar eclipses. Centuries later, their descriptions are helping scientists unravel the role of volcanoes in historical climate change.
Ice core analysis can help us better understand historical ‘black swan’ events like pandemics and droughts. The Washington Post via Getty Images

Video: How ancient ice cores show ‘black swan’ events in history – even pandemics

Ice cores can preserve evidence of ‘black swan’ events like pandemics and droughts, but the glaciers from which they are collected are disappearing.
The analysis of large amounts of ice from Antarctica’s Taylor Valley has helped scientists to tease apart the natural and human-made sources of the potent greenhouse gas methane. Hinrich Schaefer

Antarctic ice reveals that fossil fuel extraction leaks more methane than thought

Analysis of 12,000-year-old Antarctic ice reveals that methane leaks from fossil fuel extraction play a larger role than previously thought.
Mapping out Antarctica’s volcanic past will help us predict future climate change. Rita Willaert/Flickr

Volcanic history of the Antarctic helps with future climate models

An international study of ice cores has helped researchers pave the way for a better understanding of how Antarctica’s volcanoes have affected the global climate over the past 2,000 years. The research…
Ice core samples storing mysteries from bygone eras. Genericprofilename

Explainer: what are ice cores?

Ice cores are cylinders of ice drilled from glaciers and ice sheets. When snow falls it takes with it a record of many aspects of the atmosphere. As long as no melting takes place, this information is…
By studying ice cores, researchers can measure the methane emissions from thousands of years earlier. Arabani/Flickr

Humans did affect the atmosphere - even before industrialisation

The past is the key to the future. When snow falls on polar ice sheets, in Greenland and Antarctica for example, air is trapped between the snowflakes. Year after year, the snow compacts under its own…

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