Next deep freeze may be 100,000 years away, scientists say
Earth narrowly missed onset of ice age before industrializing
Global warming caused by fossil fuel emissions is blamed by scientists for intensifying storms, raising sea levels and prolonging droughts. Now there's growing evidence of a positive effect: we may have delayed the next ice age by 100,000 years or more.
The conditions necessary for the onset of a new ice age were narrowly missed at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, researchers at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research near Berlin wrote Wednesday in the journal
Nature. Since then, rising emissions of heat-trapping CO2 from burning oil, coal and gas have made the spread of the world's ice sheets even less likely, they said.
"This study further confirms what we've suspected for some time, that the carbon dioxide humans have added to the atmosphere will alter the climate of the planet for tens to hundreds of thousands of years, and has canceled the next ice age," said Andrew Watson, a professor of Earth sciences at the University of Exeter in southwest England who wasn't involved in the research. "Humans now effectively control the climate of the planet."