Fred Hoyle & Chandra Wickramasinghe Vindicated: CO2 Emissions May Delay Ice Age
In a CCNet-Essay written nearly 20 years ago, Sir Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe emphasised that mankind’s ability to inject greenhouse gases into the atmosphere was essential to “maintaining the present advantageous world climate, the opposite of what environmentalists are erroneously advocating.” A new study has vindicated their climate scepticism yet again.
By Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe
The greenhouse effect raises the Earth’s temperature by about 40oC above what it would otherwise have been. Without the greenhouse effect the Earth would be locked into a permanent ice-age. This fact gives the lie to those renegade scientists, who in their anxiety to get their hands into the public purse, are seeking to persuade the public that the greenhouse effect is a bad thing greatly to be feared. The reverse is true. The greenhouse effect is an exceedingly good thing, without which those of us who happen to live in Britain would be buried under several hundreds of metres of ice. [...]
The renewal of ice-age conditions would render a large fraction of the world’s major food-growing areas inoperable, and so would inevitably lead to the extinction of most of the present human population. Since bolide impacts cannot be called up to order, we must look to a sustained greenhouse effect to maintain the present advantageous world
climate. This implies the ability to inject effective greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the opposite of what environmentalists are erroneously advocating.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in the atmosphere could override other influences to make this the longest inter-ice age period in Earth history
Human-driven climate change may have put the next ice age off by about 50,000 years, said scientists Thursday, January 14, highlighting our species’ ever-more dominant influence on Earth’s natural cycles.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in the atmosphere could override other influences to make this the longest inter-ice age period in Earth history, they wrote in the journal Nature.
Without human influence, the next ice age was probably about 50,000 years away anyway, wrote the team led by Andrey Ganopolski of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany.
But current trends of CO2 emissions from humans burning oil, coal and gas, “are already sufficient to postpone the next ice age for another 50,000 years,” he said.
“The bottom line is that we are basically skipping a whole glacial cycle, which is unprecedented.”
Ice ages are caused partly by changes in Sun exposure caused by natural variations in the Earth’s orbit, combined with the influence of planet-warming greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Temperate “interglacial” periods normally last about 20,000 to 30,000 years, according to scientists. Once every 400,000 years or so, an inter-ice age period will last longer than that.
The last ice age ended between 14,000 and 11,000 years ago, giving rise to the Holocene, Earth’s current geological period, which has been an unusually mild inter-ice age era.
The most recent part of the Holocene, following the Industrial Revolution, has become known as the Anthropocene — the period when human activities started influencing Earth’s geological processes.
“It is mind-boggling that humankind is able to interfere with a mechanism that shaped the world as we know it,” Ganopolski said in a statement.
His team used computer modelling to simulate conditions in the atmosphere, ocean, ice sheets and global carbon cycle simultaneously.
The results matched the timing of the last 8 ice ages, and were then used to forecast future ones.
To date, humans have added about 500 billion tons (gigatons or Gt) of carbon (C) to the atmosphere via carbon dioxide emissions.
The UN’s climate science panel has said the total must be limited to 1,000 Gt C if global warming is to be held in check at a relatively safe two degree Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
“In the 1,000 Gt C scenario, the probability of glacial inception during the next 100,000 years is notably reduced,” the team wrote.
Human interference with the climate meant the current interglacial period could be the longest yet, the team said.