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Next Ice-Age Surpressed By Human-Made Climate-Change

First Posted: Jan 18, 2016 12:07 PM EST
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The next ice age may be suppressed by human influenced climate change. In the latest study, scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research examine how human activities has hindered the beginning of the next glacial period. The researchers found that the next inception of the next ice age might be postpone by 100,000 years in relations to human activities.

"Even without man-made climate change, we would expect the beginning of a new ice age no earlier than in 50,000 years from now - which makes the Holocene as the present geological epoch an unusually long period between ice ages," Andrey Ganopolski, lead author of the study, said in a news release. "However, our study also shows that relatively moderate additional anthropogenic CO2 emissions from burning oil, coal and gas are already sufficient to postpone the next ice age for another 50,000 years."

The researchers' study is one of the first to examine the last eight ice ages and the factors behind each of those glacial cycles. Their study highlighted a coexisting relationship between summer isolation and atmospheric CO2 during the beginning of a massive ice sheet growth. This enables the researchers to examine past glacial cycles along with future potential ice ages as well.

The researchers conducted their study using an earth system model of the ocean, atmosphere, ice sheets and the carbon cycle, which enabled them to examine the effects of human made CO2 emissions on ice volumes within the atmosphere. They found that a prolonged history of CO2 emissions in past and present atmosphere has had major effects on the timing of the next glacial period.

"Our analysis shows that even small additional carbon emissions will most likely affect the evolution of the Northern Hemisphere ice sheets over tens of thousands of years, and moderate future anthropogenic CO2 emissions of 1000 to 1500 gigatons of carbon are likely to postpone the next ice age by at least 100,000 years," said Ricarda Winkelmann, coauthor of the study.

The researchers' study focuses on the factors behind the last ice age and how human activities influence the next glacial period.

The findings of this study were published in the journal Nature.

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