Earth on the Brink of an Ice Age

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The earth is now on the brink of entering another Ice Age,
according to a large and compelling body of evidence from within the
field of climate science. Many sources of data which provide our knowledge
base of long-term climate change indicate that the warm, twelve thousand
year-long Holocene period will rather soon be coming to an end, and
then the earth will return to Ice Age conditions for the next 100,000
years.

Ice cores,
ocean sediment cores, the geologic record, and studies of ancient
plant and animal populations all demonstrate a regular cyclic pattern
of Ice Age glacial maximums which each last about 100,000 years,
separated by intervening warm interglacials, each lasting about
12,000 years.

Most of the
long-term climate data collected from various sources also shows
a strong correlation with the three astronomical cycles which are
together known as the Milankovich cycles. The three Milankovich
cycles include the tilt of the earth, which varies over a 41,000
year period; the shape of the earth’s orbit, which changes
over a period of 100,000 years; and the Precession of the Equinoxes,
also known as the earth’s "wobble," which gradually
rotates the direction of the earth’s axis over a period of
26,000 years. According to the Milankovich theory of Ice Age causation,
these three astronomical cycles, each of which effects the amount
of solar radiation which reaches the earth, act together to produce
the cycle of cold Ice Age maximums and warm interglacials.

Elements of
the astronomical theory of Ice Age causation were first presented
by the French mathematician Joseph Adhemar in 1842, it was developed
further by the English prodigy Joseph Croll in 1875, and the theory
was established in its present form by the Serbian mathematician
Milutin Milankovich in the 1920s and 30s. In 1976 the prestigious
journal Science published a landmark paper by John Imbrie,
James Hays, and Nicholas Shackleton entitled "Variations in
the Earth’s orbit: Pacemaker of the Ice Ages," which described
the correlation which the trio of scientist/authors had found between
the climate data obtained from ocean sediment cores and the patterns
of the astronomical Milankovich cycles. Since the late 1970s, the
Milankovich theory has remained the predominant theory to account
for Ice Age causation among climate scientists, and hence the Milankovich
theory is always described in textbooks of climatology and in encyclopaedia
articles about the Ice Ages.

In their 1976
paper Imbrie, Hays, and Shackleton wrote that their own climate
forecasts, which were based on sea-sediment cores and the Milankovich
cycles, "… must be qualified in two ways. First, they
apply only to the natural component of future climatic trends –
and not to anthropogenic effects such as those due to the burning
of fossil fuels. Second, they describe only the long-term trends,
because they are linked to orbital variations with periods of 20,000
years and longer. Climatic oscillations at higher frequencies are
not predicted… the results indicate that the long-term trend over
the next 20,000 years is towards extensive Northern Hemisphere glaciation
and cooler climate."

During the
1970s the famous American astronomer Carl Sagan and other scientists
began promoting the theory that "greenhouse gasses" such
as carbon dioxide, or CO2, produced by human industries could lead
to catastrophic global warming. Since the 1970s the theory of "anthropogenic
global warming" (AGW) has gradually become accepted as fact
by most of the academic establishment, and their acceptance of AGW
has inspired a global movement to encourage governments to make
pivotal changes to prevent the worsening of AGW.

The central
piece of evidence that is cited in support of the AGW theory is
the famous "hockey stick" graph which was presented by
Al Gore in his 2006 film An
Inconvenient Truth
. The "hockey stick" graph shows
an acute upward spike in global temperatures which began during
the 1970s and continued through the winter of 2006/07. However,
this warming trend was interrupted when the winter of 2007/8 delivered
the deepest snow cover to the Northern Hemisphere since 1966 and
the coldest temperatures since 2001. It now appears that the current
Northern Hemisphere winter of 2008/09 will probably equal or surpass
the winter of 2007/08 for both snow depth and cold temperatures.

The main flaw
in the AGW theory is that its proponents focus on evidence from
only the past one thousand years at most, while ignoring the evidence
from the past million years – evidence which is essential for
a true understanding of climatology. The data from paleoclimatology
provides us with an alternative and more credible explanation for
the recent global temperature spike, based on the natural cycle
of Ice Age maximums and interglacials.

In 1999 the
British journal Nature published the results of data derived
from glacial ice cores collected at the Russia’s Vostok station
in Antarctica during the 1990s. The Vostok ice core data includes
a record of global atmospheric temperatures, atmospheric CO2 and
other greenhouse gases, and airborne particulates starting from
420,000 years ago and continuing through history up to our present
time.

The graph
of the Vostok ice core data
shows that the Ice Age maximums
and the warm interglacials occur within a regular cyclic pattern,
the graph-line of which is similar to the rhythm of a heartbeat
on an electrocardiogram tracing. The Vostok data graph also shows
that changes in global CO2 levels lag behind global temperature
changes by about eight hundred years. What that indicates is that
global temperatures precede or cause global CO2 changes, and not
the reverse. In other words, increasing atmospheric CO2 is not causing
global temperature to rise; instead the natural cyclic increase
in global temperature is causing global CO2 to rise.

The reason
that global CO2 levels rise and fall in response to the global temperature
is because cold water is capable of retaining more CO2 than warm
water. That is why carbonated beverages loose their carbonation,
or CO2, when stored in a warm environment. We store our carbonated
soft drinks, wine, and beer in a cool place to prevent them from
loosing their "fizz," which is a feature of their carbonation,
or CO2 content. The earth is currently warming as a result of the
natural Ice Age cycle, and as the oceans get warmer, they release
increasing amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Because the
release of CO2 by the warming oceans lags behind the changes in
the earth’s temperature, we should expect to see global CO2
levels continue to rise for another eight hundred years after the
end of the earth’s current Interglacial warm period. We should
already be eight hundred years into the coming Ice Age before global
CO2 levels begin to drop in response to the increased chilling of
the world’s oceans.

The Vostok
ice core data graph reveals that global CO2 levels regularly rose
and fell in a direct response to the natural cycle of Ice Age minimums
and maximums during the past four hundred and twenty thousand years.
Within that natural cycle, about every 110,000 years global temperatures,
followed by global CO2 levels, have peaked at approximately the
same levels which they are at today.

Today we are
again at the peak, and near to the end, of a warm interglacial,
and the earth is now due to enter the next Ice Age. If we are lucky,
we may have a few years to prepare for it. The Ice Age will return,
as it always has, in its regular and natural cycle, with or without
any influence from the effects of AGW.

The AGW theory
is based on data that is drawn from a ridiculously narrow span of
time and it demonstrates a wanton disregard for the "big picture"
of long-term climate change. The data from paleoclimatology, including
ice cores, sea sediments, geology, paleobotany and zoology, indicate
that we are on the verge of entering another Ice Age, and the data
also shows that severe and lasting climate change can occur within
only a few years. While concern over the dubious threat of Anthropogenic
Global Warming continues to distract the attention of people throughout
the world, the very real threat of the approaching and inevitable
Ice Age, which will render large parts of the Northern Hemisphere
uninhabitable, is being foolishly ignored.

This article
originally appeared in Pravda.

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