Top stories: Earth’s darkest year, errors in ocean study, and a young crater under Greenland’s ice

Science | AAAS | 11/16/2018 | Staff
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After analyzing volcanic glass particles in ice from a Swiss glacier, a team of researchers has identified why some medieval historians say 536 was the worst year to be alive. Early that year, a cataclysmic volcano in Iceland spewed ash across the Northern Hemisphere, creating a fog that plunged Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Asia into darkness—day and night—for 18 months. Summer temperatures dropped 1.5°C to 2.5°C, initiating the coldest decade in the past 2300 years.

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Scientists behind a major study on ocean warming this month are acknowledging errors in their calculations and say conclusions are not as certain as first reported. The research, published in Nature, said oceans are warming much faster than previously estimated. After a blog post flagged some discrepancies in the study, the authors said they would submit a correction to the journal.

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An international team of scientists this week reported the discovery of a 31-kilometer-wide impact crater hidden beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet, left after a 1.5-kilometer-wide asteroid slammed into Earth. One of the planet’s 25 largest-known craters, it is also remarkably fresh, seemingly indicating a recent strike within the last...
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