Has Climate Change Stopped The Next Ice Age?

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Our Appetite For Fossil Fuels Has Changed The Future

For many years now there has been warnings around climate change although a new report suggests that the emissions we as the combined World have had a drastic effect. It is believed that the next naturally Ice Age has been delayed and will now take twice the amount of time before this happens! For many people out there talks of Ice ages and rising temperatures seem so far off but as a society should we be concerned?

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“Even without man-made climate change we would expect the beginning of a new ice age no earlier than in 50,000 years from now – which makes the Holocene as the present geological epoch an unusually long period in between ice ages,” said Andrey Ganopolski from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. “However, our study also shows that relatively moderate additional anthropogenic CO2-emissions from burning oil, coal and gas are already sufficient to postpone the next ice age for another 50,000 years.”

In other words, burning fossil fuels is causing a planetary postponement of the natural rhythm of Earth’s ice ages, meaning we won’t see another one for about 100,000 years – if the researchers are correct.

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“The bottom line is that we are basically skipping a whole glacial cycle, which is unprecedented,” said Ganopolski. “It is mind-boggling that humankind is able to interfere with a mechanism that shaped the world as we know it.”

According to Ganopolski and his team, ice ages are determined by a functional relationship between the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and insolation (aka solar radiation). Running simulations on an Earth system model, they say this relationship explains the onset of the last eight ice ages – and can also help us predict when the next glacial periods will begin.

The remarkable aspect of the findings, which are reported in Nature, is how they suggest what might be a fundamental turnaround in the powers that define Earth’s environment.

 

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