If National Geographic is to be believed, global warming is helping hold off the next ice age:
Humans are putting the brakes on the next ice age, according to the most extensive study to date on Arctic climate change.
The Arctic is now warmer than it’s been in the past 2,000 years-a trend that is reversing a natural cooling cycle dictated by a wobble in Earth’s axis.
Previously, researchers had looked at Arctic temperature data that went back just 400 years. (See photos of how climate change is transforming the Arctic.)
That research showed a temperature spike in the 20th century, but it was unclear whether human-caused greenhouse gas emissions or natural variability was the culprit, noted study co-author Gifford Miller of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
By looking even farther back in time, Miller and colleagues’ newest study reveals that the 20th century’s abrupt warming in fact interrupted millennia of steady cooling.
It’s “pretty clear that the most reasonable explanation for that reversal is due to increasing greenhouse gases,” Miller said.
The researchers’ computer climate models dovetails with field data such as sediment cores and tree rings, which “really … solidifies our understanding,” he said.
Eventually Earth will slip again into the pattern of cyclical ice ages, Miller added, but it may be thousands of years before that happens.
Being hot sure beats freezing to death. Perhaps we should be trying to further warm up the earth.
Spread the word: global warming may be good!