Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Carbon Dioxide, The Wonder Gas -- Will It Save Us From The Next Ice Age?

CO2 - is there anything it can't do. A few weeks ago, we learned from a peer reviewed study that increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere since the dawn of the Industrial Age had played a primary role in increasing agricultural output, and that such higher CO2 concentrations - it is plant food after all - will be the key to feeding the world's expanding population into the future. Today, we learn that CO2 may well be the key to preventing the next catastrophic Ice Age.

Amazingly, this latest study is being reported by the BBC's Richard Black, a true IPCC-loving, Climategate-denying, scare-mongering uber-warmie.  To say that I am surprised is putting it mildly.

To give some background, our world cyclically passes through major and minor ice ages - and by that I mean long-term reductions in the earth's temperature giving rise to advancing polar ice sheets and glaciers.  There have been five major ice ages in our earth's history. The worst occurred between 850 to 630 million years ago during the Cryogenian period, when the entire earth was covered in ice, even to the equator.  The periods in between ice ages have been categorized by a near complete absence of ice on our planet.  Technically, we are today still in an ice age that began 2.5 million years ago at the start of the Pleistocene period because "the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets still exist."  Fortunately for humanity, we are living in an interglacial period of the ice age known as the Holocene.

With that said, according to the BBC's Mr. Black, a team of scientists headed by Cambridge University researcher Luke Skinner published a study in Nature Geoscience, positing that the next devastating ice age could be expected sometime in the next 1,500 years.  Such an event would "cover much of the northern hemisphere, many species would face extinction and the productivity of the biosphere would diminish as fertile farmlands went under the ice."  Indeed, the reality has always been that we as a species have exponentially more to fear from global cooling than global warming.

But according to the Cambridge research team, carbon dioxide is our savior.  Carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is currently at 390 ppm (parts per million).  So long as we keep carbon concentrations above 240 to 280 ppm, glaciation will not begin, and the next cyclical ice age will be put off.
Not surprisingly, nobody is loving life more than Marc Morano at Climate Depot at the moment:

Rev your SUVs! Global Warming To Save The Planet?: Will rising levels of CO2 prevent a new Ice Age & save civilization?

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