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Oceans may be responsible for making Earth move in and out of Ice Ages every 100,000 years: Study

By studying the chemical make-up of tiny fossils on the ocean floor, the research team discovered that there was more CO2 stored in the deep ocean during the ice age periods at regular intervals every 100,000 years

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Ice Age
An artist's impression of ice age Earth at glacial maximum. Wikimedia commons

London: October 30, 2016:  Oceans may be responsible for making the Earth move in and out of ice ages every 100,000 years, finds a study.

According to the study published in the journal Geology, oceans sucking carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the atmosphere may have triggered this phenomena.

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Dubbed the “100,000-year problem”, this phenomena has been occurring for the past million years or so and leads to vast ice sheets covering North America, Europe and Asia.

By studying the chemical make-up of tiny fossils on the ocean floor, the team discovered that there was more CO2 stored in the deep ocean during the ice age periods at regular intervals every 100,000 years.

This suggested that extra carbon dioxide was being pulled from the atmosphere and into the oceans at this time, subsequently lowering the temperature on the Earth and enabling vast ice sheets to engulf the Northern Hemisphere.

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[bctt tweet=”Marine algae play a key role in removing CO2 from the atmosphere as it is an essential ingredient of photosynthesis.” username=””]

“We can think of the oceans as inhaling and exhaling carbon dioxide, so when the ice sheets are larger, the oceans have inhaled carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, making the planet colder. When the ice sheets are small, the oceans have exhaled carbon dioxide, so there is more in the atmosphere which makes the planet warmer,” said Carrie Lear, researcher at the Cardiff University, Britain.

Research on Ice Age
Cardiff University, Britain. Wikimedia commons

“By looking at the fossils of tiny creatures on the ocean floor, we showed that when ice sheets were advancing and retreating every 100,000 years, the oceans were inhaling more carbon dioxide in the cold periods, suggesting that there was less left in the atmosphere,” Lear added.

Marine algae play a key role in removing CO2 from the atmosphere as it is an essential ingredient of photosynthesis.

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CO2 is put back into the atmosphere when deep ocean water rises to the surface through a process called upwelling. But when a vast quantity of sea ice is present, this prevents the CO2 from being exhaled, which could make the ice sheets bigger and prolong the ice age.

The last ice age ended about 11,500 years ago, and began 21,000 years ago, according to earlier study reports. (IANS)

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USA: Everything you want to know about Security Clearance; Find out here!

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas.

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Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA
Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan. We take a look at what that means.

What is a security clearance?

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas after completion of a background check. The clearance by itself does not guarantee unlimited access. The agency seeking the clearance must determine what specific area of information the person needs to access.

What are the different levels of security clearance?

There are three levels: Confidential, secret and top secret. Security clearances don’t expire. But, top secret clearances are reinvestigated every five years, secret clearances every 10 years and confidential clearances every 15 years.

All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA
All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA

Who has security clearances?

According to a Government Accountability Office report released last year, about 4.2 million people had a security clearance as of 2015, they included military personnel, civil servants, and government contractors.

Why does one need a security clearance in retirement?

Retired senior intelligence officials and military officers need their security clearances in case they are called to consult on sensitive issues.

Also Read: Governments Across The World Request Apple for 30,000 Device Information

Can the president revoke a security clearance?

Apparently. But there is no precedent for a president revoking someone’s security clearance. A security clearance is usually revoked by the agency that sought it for an employee or contractor. All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance, which can include criminal acts, lack of allegiance to the United States, behavior or situation that could compromise an individual and security violations. (VOA)