You need to curb those carbon emissions or else you’ll be responsible for warming up the planet, sinking the Maldives and ruining skiing season for everyone. Just ask Al Gore. But apparently the “settled science” still isn’t quite so settled, at least not at Cambridge. Scientists there have concluded a lengthy study of climate cycles as they relate to “wobbles” in the Earth’s orbit around the sun and reached a somewhat different conclusion… man’s emissions of carbon might be the only thing standing between us and another ice age.
Researchers used data on the Earth’s orbit and other things to find the historical warm interglacial period that looks most like the current one.
In the journal Nature Geoscience, they write that the next Ice Age would begin within 1,500 years – but emissions have been so high that it will not.
“At current levels of CO2, even if emissions stopped now we’d probably have a long interglacial duration determined by whatever long-term processes could kick in and bring [atmospheric] CO2 down,” said Luke Skinner from Cambridge University.
Dr Skinner’s group – which also included scientists from University College London, the University of Florida and Norway’s Bergen University – calculates that the atmospheric concentration of CO2 would have to fall below about 240 parts per million (ppm) before the glaciation could begin.
The current level is around 390ppm.
Thomas Ferdousi at Pundit Press sees some of the irony in all this.
Remember all of the predictions of how the earth was going to increase temperature so much that it would be difficult for human life to remain? Well, if carbon emissions are raising temperatures, it may be saving our descendants from a horrible frozen wasteland.
According to some scientists now, there’s a pretty good chance that the earth is entering into another ice age. But, then again, there was the prediction that the earth was going to have the ice caps melt and life become insufferable. Maybe both will happen at the same time.
These ice age stories always have to be taken with a grain of salt no matter which side you’re taking in the AGW debate. Had there never been any people on the planet, past patterns indicate that we’d hit another ice age sooner or later. But, in the ultimate bit of irony, we’re fairly sure that warm air is carried up north by massive ocean currents caused by heavily salinated water coming off the ice caps at the poles. Hence, if you melt all the ice at the poles, the “conveyer” currents shut down, and while the equator heats up, the poles go into a massive deep freeze cycle triggering another ice age which lasts until the conveyer currents finally start up again. (Or at least that’s one theory.)
But since apparently nobody knows what they’re talking about anyway, enjoy the warm weather this winter and do your part to stop killer glaciers from crushing America yet again. The world is counting on you.