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Anorak | How Man’s Warming Prevented The Ice Age

How Man’s Warming Prevented The Ice Age

by | 19th, December 2008

A PRESS release explains that it wasn’t the industrial age that sparked global warming. No, it was Asians and the Hun:

SAN FRANCISCO — The common wisdom is that the invention of the steam engine and the advent of the coal-fueled industrial age marked the beginning of human influence on global climate.

Wisdom?

But gathering physical evidence, backed by powerful simulations on the world’s most advanced computer climate models, is reshaping that view and lending strong support to the radical idea that human-induced climate change began not 200 years ago, but thousands of years ago with the onset of large-scale agriculture in Asia and extensive deforestation in Europe.

The swine!

What’s more, according to the same computer simulations, the cumulative effect of thousands of years of human influence on climate is preventing the world from entering a new glacial age, altering a clockwork rhythm of periodic cooling of the planet that extends back more than a million years.

We’ve stopped the ice age. Turn up the fridge to 11:

“This challenges the paradigm that things began changing with the Industrial Revolution,” says Stephen Vavrus, a climatologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Climatic Research and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. “If you think about even a small rate of increase over a long period of time, it becomes important…

That idea, debated for the past several years by climate scientists, holds that the introduction of large-scale rice agriculture in Asia, coupled with extensive deforestation in Europe began to alter world climate by pumping significant amounts of greenhouse gases — methane from terraced rice paddies and carbon dioxide from burning forests — into the atmosphere. In turn, a warmer atmosphere heated the oceans making them much less efficient storehouses of carbon dioxide and reinforcing global warming.

Of course, it really happened when man harnessed the first cow:

That one-two punch, say Kutzbach and Vavrus, was enough to set human-induced climate change in motion.

A rabbit punch in Mother Nature’s kidneys. So what’s the big picture?

“We’re at a very favorable state right now for increased glaciation,” says Kutzbach. “Nature is favoring it at this time in orbital cycles, and if humans weren’t in the picture it would probably be happening today.”

Hurrah for us!

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Posted: 19th, December 2008 | In: Reviews Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink