News24

Next ice age not likely for 1 500 years

2012-01-09 19:31

London - High levels of carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere mean the next ice age is unlikely to begin for at least 1 500 years, an article in the journal Nature Geoscience said on Monday.

Concentrations of the main gases blamed for global warming reached record levels in 2010 and will linger in the atmosphere for decades even if the world stopped pumping out emissions today, according to the UN's weather agency.

An ice age is a period when there is a long-term reduction in the earth's surface and atmospheric temperature, which leads to the growth of ice sheets and glaciers.

There have been at least five ice ages on earth. During ice ages there are cycles of glaciation with ice sheets both advancing and retreating.

Officially, the earth has been in an interglacial, or warmer period, for the last 10 000 to 15 000 years, and estimates vary on how long such periods last.

"[Analysis] suggests that the end of the current interglacial [period] would occur within the next 1 500 years, if atmospheric CO2 concentrations do not exceed [around] 240 parts per million by volume (ppmv)," the study said.

However, the current carbon dioxide concentration is of 390 ppmv, and at that level an increase in the volume of ice sheets would not be possible, it added.

The study based on variations in the earth's orbit and rock samples was conducted by academics at Cambridge University, University College London, the University of Florida and Norway's University of Bergen.

The causes of ice ages are not fully understood but concentrations of methane and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, changes in the earth's orbit around the sun, and the movement of tectonic plates are all thought to contribute.

The world is forecast to grow hotter as greenhouse gases continue to rise, increasing threats such as extreme weather events and sea level rise.

Scientists have warned that global temperature rise should be limited to within 2°C to avoid the worst effects of climate change but delays in curbing emissions growth are putting the planet at risk.

Comments
  • ivan.coetzee2 - 2012-01-09 20:52

    Damn, probably gonna miss this one too LOL

  • brianmacza - 2012-01-10 08:36

    Psuedo science pumped by people with a vested interest have spewed so much crap that its now pretty much accepted as truth. A pity that there are so many 'global warming' sheeple out there too thich to work it out that they are being led down the garden path by the Gores of this world. How wealthy has Gore become from carbon credit BS schemes?

      Wendy - 2012-01-10 10:20

      Even assuming that glo-bull warming exists, Al Gore could reduce it by keeping his mouth shut!

      flyswat - 2012-01-13 18:36

      The climate's going to do what the climate's going to do exactly the same way it's been doing it for the past gazillion years. Humans have inhabited for only a fraction of the time. We don't really count!

  • OckertvH - 2012-01-18 15:29

    i don't belive

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