– CO2 delays ice age

High carbon emissions mean little danger of a new ice age in the next 1000-1500 years, international researchers say.

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The last ice age was 11,600 years ago. Many scientists have previously stated the current interglacial period would normally begin tapering off now because it is similar in length to the last one. Foto: Line Noer Borrevik

  • Turid Furdal
    Journalist
Denne artikkelen er over åtte år gammel

“Current solar radiation levels indicate a new ice age is almost overdue, but naturally-occurring radiation will not manage to zero out the effects of CO2,” researcher Helga ‘ Kikki’ Kleiven, at the University of Bergen’s Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, tells Aftenbladet.

Her conclusions stem from researching climate data going back 780,000 years. The last ice age was 11,600 years ago.

More remote

Many scientists have previously stated the current interglacial period would normally begin tapering off now because it is similar in length to the last one.

Ms Kleiven and international colleagues Professor Chronis Tzedakis (University College London), Professor Jim Channell (University of Florida, Gainesville), Professor David Hodell og Dr. Luke Skinner (University of Cambridge), assert the opposite.

CO2 emissions are now 391.8 parts per million (ppm) instead of a required less-than 240ppm, meaning the possibility of a new ice age is more remote.

When is the next ice age likely?

“Today's solar radiation is lower than it was at the end of the last one. Nevertheless, we cannot expect that the growth of ice sheets or other natural changes that normally occur at the start of ice ages will be able to mitigate the effects of human-induced global warming,” she says, “ice ages are initiated by changes in solar radiation distribution brought on by slow movements in the Earth’s orbit.”

Results are published in the 'Nature Geoscience‘ journal.

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