Climate change activists may soon need to change their doomsday forecast that the earth will start disintegrating in about 12-years due to the much-touted greenhouse effect, and in fact be concerned in a rise in sea levels that may in fact be a precursor to another Ice Age, so says University of Chicago professor and the study’s co-author, Malte Jansen.
Professor Jansen using computer simulations within his research suggests that an increase in sea ice could significantly alter the circulation of the ocean, ultimately leading to a reverse greenhouse effect as carbon dioxide levels in the ocean increase and levels in the air decrease.
“One key question in the field is still what caused the Earth to periodically cycle in and out of ice ages,” asks Professor Jansen in a statement, adding; “We are pretty confident that the carbon balance between the atmosphere and ocean must have changed, but we don’t quite know how or why.”
A quick reference by yours truly, confirms that the last known ice age ended at the end of the Pleistocene period, roughly about 2.5 million years ago. Professor Jansen noted that glaciers have throughout earth’s history periodically grown and then gotten smaller.
Researchers also believe that changes to the Earth’s orbit may be partly responsible for some of the Earth’s cooling, but additional factors have likely played a part, Jensen added.
“The most plausible explanation is that there was some change in how carbon was divided between the atmosphere and the ocean,” Jansen continued. “There’s no shortage of ideas about how this happens, but it’s not quite clear how they all fit together.”
Scientists also believe that the most recent ice age may have in fact occurred roughly 12,800 years ago, however not as large or as well known and researched as those that covered 1/3 of the earth’s surface.
The “mini-ice age, scientists predict may have occurred when an asteroid “rocked the Northern Hemisphere” that led to the Younger Dryas climate event.
Jansen pointed out that the Southern Ocean around Antarctica “plays a key role in ocean circulation” due to the deep waters in the region, leading it to have “outsize[d] consequences.”
Adding, “What this suggests is that it’s a feedback loop,” said the study’s lead author, Alice Marzocchi. “As the temperature drops, less carbon is released into the atmosphere, which triggers more cooling.”
“What surprised me is how much of this increased storage can be attributed to physical changes alone, with Antarctic sea-ice cover being the key player,” Marzocchi added, noting that future study of the ocean and the role it plays in the carbon cycle can help simulate “future environmental change.”
One theory advanced by scientists is that earth is currently between ice ages, which have thus far lasted 2.5 million years, noting that glaciers have periodically covered the Earth and then retreated. Scientists, therefore, have been piecing together clues about how this process of glaciation works and how it’s triggered.
Professor Jansen believes that slight changes to Earth’s orbit likely led to some cooling, however that alone wouldn’t be able to trigger another ice age. There would have had to have been massive accompanying changes in the climate system to account for the amount of cooling that followed.
However, one thing is clear earth is a living and breathing planet, that has already experienced several massive ice ages, long before mankind inhabited this tiny life-sustaining sphere.