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Could the world ever go into an ice age again?

Could the world ever go into an ice age again?
George Fox from Somerset (Age 5-14)

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One Response

  1. The Earth could well go into an ice age again. For over two million years it has been in and out of cold spells that allowed ice to accumulate and move south over North America and Europe. There have been around 50 times when that happened. Ice ages have been a lot longer than the warmer periods that separated them – during the last million years cold periods have been about 9 times longer than warm periods. So the ‘normal’ state of the climate has been ice-age conditions for a long time.

    Ice ages have returned again and again because the ways in which the Earth rotates and goes around the Sun change in a regular but complicated fashion. That results in different amounts of heating by the Sun over time. The changes are caused by the gravitational effects of the other planets on the Earth’s motion. So, much the same long-term cooling-warming cycles are inevitable.

    For the last ten thousand years the Earth has been in a warm spell, but others in the past lasted only about that length of time. So, were humanity not warming the climate through carbon dioxide emissions, a new ice age could start very soon. Climate is hugely complex and scientists do not know enough about how it works in detail to predict accurately what the combined effects of natural climate changes and those humans have generated will be.

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