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Author Topic: Are we destined for another ice age?  (Read 4665 times)

Offline JanetCarol

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Are we destined for another ice age?
« on: 15/04/2009 14:30:02 »
Janet Flair  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Chris,

Hello! I was reading the article below last week.

newbielink:http://digg.com/d1nxzh [nonactive]

In the article they spoke mostly about what the sun is or isn't doing and how it related to its activity in the past.

What I wanted to know is, how does this affect life on earth? Is it possible that we will experience another Little Ice Age even with our current global warming status?

Thank you - You guys are the best!

Janet Flair
Virginia, USA

What do you think?


 

Offline Don_1

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Are we destined for another ice age?
« Reply #1 on: 15/04/2009 16:59:32 »
Global warming, whether man made or not, can lead to an increase in the size of the polar ice caps if there is sufficient water vapor in the atmosphere to block out the sun long enough.
 

paul.fr

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Are we destined for another ice age?
« Reply #2 on: 15/04/2009 18:14:33 »
The lack of sun spot activity is balanced (wrong term, maybe) by the fact the we have greater CO2 concentrations that we did during the little ice age, so lack of them will not lead to another.

Also, we can not go in to another ice age whilst experiancing global warming because:

"Properly used, the term "Ice Age" refers to a major glacial epoch, in which glaciers cover large portions of continents. The last Ice Age ended about 12,000 years ago, and we have been in an interglacial period since then"

Frethack knows more about this than I do, maybe he will have some spare time to post on it. In the meantime, try these links:

http://www.spaceweather.com/
 

Offline ukmicky

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Are we destined for another ice age?
« Reply #3 on: 15/04/2009 21:37:06 »
Hi Janet

The sun has a major influence on the temperature of the earth however research into how variations in its orbit and activity affect the global climate of the earth is still in its infancy. Due to this the models used to predict global warming are far from accurate.

In reality no one knows what is in store for the earth climate over the next few hundred or few thousand years. I bet however as proper research is performed their will be a few discoveries that will shock both the sides in the global warming debate.

If you want a read here is an article about how the suns activity affects our climate from the Center for Sun-Climate Research plus a few more if you look deeper into the site.


http://www.space.dtu.dk/English/Research/Research_divisions/Sun_Climate.aspx
 

Offline frethack

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Are we destined for another ice age?
« Reply #4 on: 15/04/2009 21:55:30 »
Quote
Is it possible that we will experience another Little Ice Age even with our current global warming status?

While it is true that the sun is experiencing a pretty deep minimum when compared to the past 100 years or so, it is not uncommon when compared to the Holocene as a whole.  Even though the Medieval Warm Period was a period of heightened solar activity, it still was punctuated by the Oort minima and the Wolf minima (which finally brought the MWP to a close after nearly 500 yrs).

There is a very big difference between solar minimum and a grand minima.  A solar minimum occurs on timescales of just a few years at most (usually...this one has been nearly 3), while a grand minima will last decades.  Talks of a Little Ice Age are premature given that we are in the midst of the largest grand maxima of about the past six or seven thousand years.  

The sun is wholly unpredictable at this time (we still have LOTS of questions), but there does seem to be some propensity toward grouping maxima and minima together.  For instance, the LIA had three large grand minima (Wolf, Sporer, and Maunder) and a short lived minima (Dalton).  The Oort during the MWP was only separated from the other three by about 150 yrs or so.  The grand maxima that we are currently in has only lasted for ~150 years, so it is entirely possible that we could see a couple hundred years more of warm conditions, though a grand minima could possibly punctuate this warm period as well.

In short...no one really knows.

Quote
Global warming, whether man made or not, can lead to an increase in the size of the polar ice caps if there is sufficient water vapor in the atmosphere to block out the sun long enough.

Don_1 is correct in this, but but increased ice mass usually trends toward thicker ice sheets at the zones of accumulation rather than geographically larger ones.

Quote
I bet however as proper research is performed their will be a few discoveries that will shock both the sides in the global warming debate.

Im working on it...hehehe...Once the data accumulation process is done Ill try post a power point :)
 

Offline JanetCarol

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Are we destined for another ice age?
« Reply #5 on: 17/04/2009 14:37:53 »
Thank you everyone for your responses. I found the articles and information interesting.
 

Offline RD

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Are we destined for another ice age?
« Reply #6 on: 17/04/2009 17:52:06 »
Cyclic variations in Earth's motion seem to explain recurring ice ages ... 

.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milankovitch_cycles
« Last Edit: 17/04/2009 17:59:07 by RD »
 

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Are we destined for another ice age?
« Reply #6 on: 17/04/2009 17:52:06 »

 

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