Sunday, January 15, 2012

A New Ice Age?

I just read an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about whether we are approaching another Ice Age. That is hard to imagine considering I saw some people wearing shorts in mid-December in the Northeast. However, according to the article, it has been as warm as this or warmer for less than 10% of the time over the past million years. Ironically, Newsweek in the 1970s had an article in which lead climatologists were fearing another Ice Age. Of course, if you talk to people in Eastern Europe right now, they would say that we are already in an Ice Age with record low temperatures.

There are theories that the Earth's climate in more prone to Ice Ages. This has been tied to the salinity levels in the ocean. In fact, there are theories that as the fresh water glaciers melt in Greenland and run into the Atlantic Ocean, this will reduce the salt water levels in the ocean. As a result this could slow down the conveyor belt effect in the Atlantic Ocean that brings the warm waters from the Gulf of Mexico, which in turn keeps the temperature levels higher in the Atlantic Ocean, which avoids us going into a deep freeze. Some scientists claim this is already happening. It has been reported there is a fresh body of water the size of Lake Victoria coming down from the Greenland.

So who would be impacted more by this? It is believed that Northern Europe would feel this deep freeze effect, especially in the UK and Scandinavia. It does seem counter intuitive with rising temperatures and more mild winters that there is a threat of an Ice Age, but then again who could really predict the weather anyway.

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