Friday, August 19, 2011

Global warming = next Ice Age?

Global warming = the next Ice Age?
The question is not quite as dumb as it sounds. Here's why.
For glaciation to take place you need more snow to fall in the winter than melts in the summer.
For snow you need an source of open water.
Antarctica is blessed, so to speak, by being a land mass surrounded by an ample source of open water. The Arctic, on the other hand, is an ocean surrounded by land.
A good example of the effect of open water as it relates to heavy snowfall, you need only look at what happens along the eastern shores of the Great Lakes before the lakes cool and begin to freeze. What you get are snowstorms and snowfall totals that equal what takes place in the Rocky Mountains. But as the lake cool and begin to freeze, the snow storm diminish.
There is evidence that during the last Ice Age the Arctic was largely ice free. This seems logical since you need open water to make the snow that makes the glaciers.
So maybe those who like to worry should worry that Global Warming could result in the next Ice Age.
One thing is certain. Weather/Climate tends to change and the longer it gets stuck in a pattern, the more sudden and extreme the change. Here too the tendency to sudden change is shown in how the last Ice Age abruptly ended when the Earth's climate suddenly warmed well above what we are now experiencing.
Go figure.

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