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of global warming are of concern both for the environment and human
life. Scenarios studied by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC) predict that global warming will continue and get worse much
faster than was expected even in their last report.
Research by NOAA indicate that the effects of global warming are already irreversible. The IPCC reports attribute many specific natural phenomena to human causes. The expected long range effects of recent climate change may already be observed.
Rising sea levels, glacier retreat, Arctic shrinkage, and altered patterns of agriculture are cited as direct consequences of human activities. Predictions for secondary and regional effects include extreme weather events, an expansion of tropical diseases, changes in the timing of seasonal patterns in ecosystems, and drastic economic impact.
Could Global Warming Cause A New Ice Age?
In the movie The Day After Tomorrow, there are many special effects including an ice event caused by global warming. Much of the science of the movie has been called into question. However, there may be some truth to the idea that global warming could cause an ice age.
The theory starts with an understanding of why Europe and Scandinavia are not colder already. After all, other places at the same latitude are covered with ice and permafrost. Alaska and Greenland are both as close to the North Pole as Europe. Yet, it is not global warming that keeps Europe warm.
The ocean currents called the Gulf Stream bring warm waters up to the UK and Europe from the Caribbean. These waters warm the countries around their path. This is what causes the UK, Europe, and Scandinavia to have such a nicer climate than, say, Alaska. Global warming has nothing to do with that.
An important factor about the Gulf Stream is that to keep the Great Conveyor Belt going, cool water must feed back into the loop and be brought back to the point in the Caribbean where the process began. This keeps the water moving.
Global warming is significant in that it could slow the Gulf Stream, or even stop it. If this were to happen, the cold waters would stay in the area of Europe, the UK, Scandinavia, and the Northeastern US. It could mean an ice age for those regions.
In every major cooling event, such as the last great Ice Age, the Gulf Stream has been significantly weakened. This can happen for different reasons. In current times, it can happen due to global warming brought on by human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels.
If the new Ice Age happens, it will likely be due to the melting of the polar ice. This will dump large quantities of cold, fresh water into the ocean. It would disrupt the Gulf Stream and cause the cooling of many areas that now have milder climates. Global warming will be the cause.
An ice age will probably not happen gradually, either. This is a phenomenon that takes place rather quickly. Perhaps it does not happen as fast as the ice event in The Day After Tomorrow. However, it could happen within a few short years with global warming being to blame.
The return flow of cold water from Greenland, which goes back to the Caribbean, has already showed a weakening in the last 50 years. There has been a 20% decline in the amount of current flowing in this direction. It only makes sense that the warm waters coming from the Caribbean have lessened too.
These currents are a part of the world-wide network of currents called the Global Thermohaline Circulation. This global warming could then cause a slowing or stoppage of the Gulf Stream affecting the entire earth.
The statistics are used to answer the question of whether an ice age could be caused by global warming. Observations have been made of current data and historical information gleaned by studying the ocean and the lands around it. With all the information at hand, it appears that it is indeed possible that global warming could lead to an Ice Age.
More ArticlesGlobal Warming And The Significance Of Rising Water Temperatures
... square miles less perennial ice than in 2005. Global warming has truly had an impact on the sea ice of the Arctic. Some scientists predict that all the sea ice will be gone by 2040. Global warming could also cause the sea level to rise as ice melts. When this happens, islands are lost and coastal communities ...
... The book, written by Dennis T. Avery and S. Fred Singer, is an argument that global warming is a cyclical event that has happened gradually and systematically throughout history. Scientific data backs up the claims and demonstrates why no one should be concerned about global warming, in the authors' opinions. ...
... affect the incidence of tropical disease. Mosquitoes have been found in places that were once too cold for them. High elevations, such as mountains were once free of disease-carrying mosquitoes. However, as the warmth climbs higher up the mountain, so do the mosquitoes. The mosquitoes carry malaria to ...
... these higher temperatures can bring problems in other areas. In regions that are already warm, global warming will cause the plants to languish in the heat. Soil evaporation rates will be very high, leaving very dry earth. Add to that, droughts that will make both the soil and the air dry and might even ...
... decades due to global warming. This is caused by the heat that is building up around the earth's surface. Excessive evaporation intensifies drought even more during the spring and fall. Global warming has upped the level of drought. A major drought in the US lasted from 1999-2002. There were only two ...
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