MadSci Network: Earth Sciences

Subject: Without human action, would the next Ice Age have started now?

Date: Tue Jan 3 11:17:29 2006
Posted by Vernon
Grade level: nonaligned School: No school entered.
City: No city entered. State/Province: No state entered. Country: No country entered.
Area of science: Earth Sciences
ID: 1136312249.Es

Astronomers have identified three cycles that are associated with the numerous
recent Ice Ages on Earth.  The planet's orbital eccentricity changes, its axial
tilt changes, and its axis precesses, all to different amounts and at different
rates.  When the cycles "align" an interglacial period begins, such as has
existed for the past 12,000 years or so.  I'm asking, "When is the current
alignment period ending, such that we could expect another Ice Age, if humans
hadn't dumped so much greenhouse gas into the atmosphere?"  Some say it started
 about 500 years ago ("The Little Ice Age"), and some just attribute that
short-term event to an unusually quiet Sun.  What is the astronomical truth? 
The reason I'm asking is because if we humans work to reduce the greenhouse
gases in the air, we might want to be sure we don't OVER-reduce them!  Thanks!

Re: Without human action, would the next Ice Age have started now?

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