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Next ice age has been delayed by 50,000 years

Posted on Thursday, 14 January, 2016 | Comment icon 62 comments

The next ice age should have already started. Image Credit: CC 2.0 NASA Goddard
Man-made global warming is believed to have postponed the next ice age by several thousand years.
Our planet has endured multiple ice ages over the last few million years and the last one, which saw large areas of the northern hemisphere buried under glaciers, ended only around 12,000 years ago.

Ice ages tend to occur when the amount of solar radiation hitting our planet reaches a minimum threshold - something that happens every so often as the Earth's orbit around the sun changes.

The conditions would in fact be sufficient to initiate a new period of glaciation right now if it weren't for the fact that carbon emissions have been steadily increasing global temperatures.

"We are now in a period when our (northern) summer is furthest from the Sun," said Dr Andrey Ganopolski from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

"Under normal circumstances, the interglacial would be terminated, and a new ice age would start. So, in principle, we are in the perfect conditions from an astronomical point of view. "

Instead, the scientists argue, we are likely to remain in a warm period for thousands of years.

"In theory, the next ice age could be even further into the future, but there is no real practical importance in discussing whether it starts in 50,000 or 100,000 years from now," said Ganopolski.

"The important thing is that it is an illustration that we have a geological power now. We can change the natural sequence of events for tens of thousands of years."

Source: BBC News | Comments (62)

Tags: Ice Age, Global Warming

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #53 Posted by BFB on 16 January, 2016, 15:41
Thank you. From the national geographic article: "Even the 3,038 vertebrate species included in the report are just a fraction of the estimated 62,839 species that have been described around the world." This report is only using around 5% of the data avaliable. First problem. How do they calculate their extinction rates? Second problem. Most papers suggest around 18-35% species loss by 2050. Like you linked nature paper. However they base their rates on species area relationship. However by doing so their extinction rates are overestimated. As they would only be valid if all specie... [More]
Comment icon #54 Posted by Br Cornelius on 16 January, 2016, 16:11
You cannot make any useful assessment based upon the species that have already gone extinct. Just as with climate change itself and global temperatures, it is the trend line that draws you to the conclusion that we are in the early stages of a mass extinction event. Br Cornelius
Comment icon #55 Posted by BFB on 16 January, 2016, 16:55
Br I gave an example why the report on around 40% was overestimated. Now you switch to saying that the overall point is the trend. I do not dismiss that species are going extinct. If I remember correctly(correct me if I am wrong) around 500 species have gone extinct since 1500. However that's only around 0.8%. I do disagree with the statement that we are in a mass extinction events now. There is not enough hard evidence to Be 95% sure.
Comment icon #56 Posted by Doug1o29 on 16 January, 2016, 19:58
There are at least hundreds, if not thousands of scientific papers detailing how the current climate system is not "normal." Here is just one: Burnette, D., D. Stahle and C. Mock. 2009. Daily mean temperature reconstructed for Kansas from early instrumental and modern observations. Journal of Climate 9 October 2009. Temperature change is, perhaps, the hardest metric to understand because it is the smallest and varies the least compared to daily means. Since 1828, temperatures in Kansas have increased only 1.6 degrees C. At my house, yesterday's temperature run was about 20 de... [More]
Comment icon #57 Posted by crandles57 on 16 January, 2016, 22:13
" [sub]2[/sub] Anyway that is a long way off and do we really care (i.e. more than just being curious) whether it is 10,000 years, 100,000 years or 1,000,000 years? The next 20 or 50 or 100 or even 200 years seems much more important.
Comment icon #58 Posted by Black Monk on 17 January, 2016, 16:48
There is no man-made global warming. The Earth is going through a period of natural COOLING right now. Also, a rise or fall in levels of CO2 (a natural gas which is beneficial to Earth as it is a plant food, has led to less topsoil erosion, has encouraged beneficial bacteria and improved aerial fertilisation) does not cause a corresponding rise or fall in temperature. The reverse is true. A rise or fall in temperature causes a corresponding rise or fall in CO2.
Comment icon #59 Posted by Br Cornelius on 17 January, 2016, 17:21
So you have nothing then to backup your hollow words. Not surprising. Br Cornelius
Comment icon #60 Posted by Doug1o29 on 17 January, 2016, 17:48
be As I said above, would you care to cite some datasets to back up your claim? Without evidence, all you have is a screwy idea. You and I didn't study physics in the same school. Carbon absorbs incoming light energy and re-emits it as heat. This is true if the climate system is operating normally. Increased warming of the oceans causes the release of carbon dioxide. There is a 300-year lag in the process, so what is happening now is the result of climate in the early 1700s. But that's the whole point: what is happening now is not normal. In the early 1700s the climate was not wa... [More]
Comment icon #61 Posted by regeneratia on 17 January, 2016, 23:41
Yeah, this news item, I saw yesterday on another site, sure does give one some interesting thoughts. It is 8 degrees F here, and the wood-burning stove has been going non-stop for two days, a stove I only use if it gets below 20 degrees F. It is just easier to sit on the fence on this one. The entire solar system is heating up. Opps, they just found some other items on the edge and just outside our own solar system, while we know now that galxies pass thru one another from time to time. Makes ya go Hmmmmm!

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