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The making of Antarctica

New explanation links competing theories of the origin of Antarctic glaciation and highlights complexity of climate change
Tue, 2017-01-31 13:12

One of the big mysteries in the scientific world is how the ice sheets of Antarctica formed so rapidly about 34 million years ago, at the boundary between the Eocene and Oligocene epochs.

There are 2 competing theories:

The first explanation is based on global climate change: Scientists have shown that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels declined steadily since the beginning of the Cenozoic Era, 66 million years ago. Once CO2 dropped below a critical threshold, cooler global temperatures allowed the ice sheets of Antarctica to form.

Contact Information

Contact: Galen Halverson
Organization: Dept. of Earth and Planetary Sciences, McGill University
Email:

Secondary Contact Information

Contact: Katherine Gombay
Organization: Media Relations, McGill University
Office Phone: 514-398-2189
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Source Site: /newsroom

Microplastic pollution discovered in St. Lawrence River

Previously undocumented in North American rivers, concentrations of microplastic particles in the St. Lawrence found to be as high as in the world’s most contaminated ocean sediments
Tue, 2014-09-23 12:23

A team of researchers from McGill University and the Quebec government have discovered microplastics (in the form of polyethylene 'microbeads,' less than 2 mm in diameter) widely distributed across the bottom of the St. Lawrence River, the first time such pollutants have been found in freshwater sediments.

Contact Information

Contact: Cynthia Lee
Organization: McGill University
Email:
Office Phone: 514-398-6754
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Source Site: /newsroom

Study of oceans’ past raises worries about their future

Data from end of the last ice age illuminate the precarious nature of global ocean chemistry
Thu, 2013-06-13 15:11

The ocean the Titanic sailed through just over 100 years ago was very different from the one we swim in today. Global warming is increasing ocean temperatures and harming marine food webs. Nitrogen run-off from fertilizers is causing coastal dead zones. A McGill-led international research team has now completed the first global study of changes that occurred in a crucial component of ocean chemistry, the nitrogen cycle, at the end of the last ice age. The results of their study confirm that oceans are good at balancing the nitrogen cycle on a global scale. But the data also shows that it is a slow process that may take many centuries, or even millennia, raising worries about the effects of the scale and speed of current changes in the ocean.

Contact Information

Contact: Katherine Gombay
Organization: Media Relations Office
Email:
Office Phone: 514-398-2189
Category:
Source Site: /newsroom