Forums - General Discussion - Are We Going Into An Ice Age?

Yes folks, this is a completely serious question (and no, this doesn't mean it won't still be a warm Summer necessarily, it means that we are in the process of going into an ice age)

Maybe some of you aren't familiar (being that the news doesn't give a rats ass about us in the midwest due to the bombings...and just in general), but areas of Minnesota are still in the brunt of a winter that has literally never been seen in the recordbooks.

Lets just start out with temperatures: Through April 18th, St. Cloud MN is about 9.8° F below average for temperature in April. The coldest April in the entire recordbooks was about 7.5° F below average.  Our temperatures through Tuesday are supposed to remain at 35-45° highs, which is 15-25° below avearge. After that, we are supposed to finally hit 50° for the first time on April 25th (Still 10° below average). The latest 50° day ever in St. Cloud MN is April 20th, so that record will be broken. The latest 60 degree day ever is April 26th. If the models can be believed, we will finally hit 60 on April 29th, so that record will be broken. Now, if you take the temperatures predicted by models through the end of the month, St. Cloud should wind up closer to about 11° below average for the month of April. This isn't just barely breaking the record (I can understand records being broken by a little), it is absolutely smashing it beyond belief (Breaking the coldest month on record by 3.5° for a whole month is completely unheard of).

Now, lets just go ahead and talk about snowfall: In April, St. Cloud MN averages 3" of snowfall, with an average of 2 days of accumulating (Trace or higher) snow for the month. On April 5th, a trace of snow was seen (no big deal). On April 10th, the first winter storm warning for April of this year was issued. Predictions were for 8-10" of snow to fall. We received a trace on April 10th, 8.7" April 11th, 1.4" April 12th, .4" April 13th, .4" April 14th, and a trace April 15th. Almost immediately after this storm passed, another winter storm watch was issued with predictions of 6-8" of snow to fall. On April 17, we received 1.1", with an additional 9.4" on April 18th (there is no measurement yet April 19th. Many locations including my own house received totals of 13.5-14" in this snowstorm). This puts the total snowfall for April at 21.4" officially (with localized areas as high as 25"). This doesn't sound like a big deal, but this hasn't happened since 1893, when St. Cloud received 24" on April 19th, and 12" on April 26th. That year wasn't NEARLY as cold though. To tip this off, we have had 10 days now with a trace or more snowfall so far this month. So is it done? Not quite. Models have hinted at another 2-6" this saturday/sunday, with more lingering snow showers into next week, with the possibility of 3-4 more days having at least trace accumulations (for a total of 13-14 days this month with at least a trace).

Ok, so maybe we aren't going into an ice age (although this is some darned crazy weather), but for all those global warming fanatics, I hope you realize it only takes a few years to dive deep into an ice age.



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I'm a geologist and there are several sound hypothesises how global warming can result in the next glacial period (or "Ice Age", although we consider this earth-epoch, the holocene, to be an "Ice Age" anyway with glacial and interglacial(warm) periods, yet most of the time it's cold).

Ofcourse other more popular hypothesises state that our climate changes to a "hot house climate", yet we have seen heatspikes at the end of several interglacial periods, so I personally think it's very possible that at the end of this current one we will see another glacial/ice age. Interesting times are ahead :).



Snowboarding is my favorite thing in life. I'm totally hyped!

Lafiel said:

I'm a geologist and there are several sound hypothesises how global warming can result in the next glacial period

I've seen stuff like that before in regards to warming prior to an ice age. Interesting indeed.



i hope so. i love ice age

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Lafiel said:

I'm a geologist and there are several sound hypothesises how global warming can result in the next glacial period (or "Ice Age", although we consider this earth-epoch, the holocene, to be an "Ice Age" anyway with glacial and interglacial(warm) periods, yet most of the time it's cold).

Ofcourse other more popular hypothesis state that our climate changes to a "hot house climate", yet we have seen heatspikes at the end of several interglacial periods, so I personally think it's very possible that at the end of this current one we will see another glacial/ice age. Interesting times are ahead :).


As a professional in the field, how much does the percentage of carbon in our atmoshpere affect such things?



It's currently snowing outside for me, but then again I live in Colorado. This is normal.

Augen said:

As a professional in the field, how much does the percentage of carbon in our atmoshpere affect such things?

Well, it's not my main field of expertise, but from what I read and heard we usually see a change of carbondioxide or methan concentration in the air _after_ a climate change has already happened (the methods of analysis might not be preceise enough to tell that with 100% certainty), so to see those rise before that sure is odd right now.

What we know from laboratory experiments is that those gases absorb infra-red radiation (heat) and radiate it again in a pretty much random direction, which is why the higher the concentration is in the atmosphere the longer time an infra-red ray on average needs to go from the earth surface to space and hence the warmer that area it bounces around in should become.

How much exactly is needed to make a grand impact on the climate is unknown and probably depends on many many other factors of the earth at that particular time. For example right now we have a great amount of ground in the artic regions of the earth, especially antarctica, siberia, greenland and canada, which has a great impact on the climate due to the fact that soil/rock can become much colder than water and easily is covered by snow/ice which creates a powerful albedo-effect, reflecting an influential portion of sunlight back without converting it to infra-red radiation. Additional factors ofcourse include solar activity, distance sun-earth, dust/sulfite air conc, aqueous vapor conc, ocean currents,  maybe even cosmic radiation (an interesting study I read said it's a big factor in cloud creation and clouds ofcourse create an albedo aswell).

Popular speculation I read is that for how our earth is right now 400 ppm CO2 conc is the "point of no return" to a change to a hot house climate, a point we have reached last year, yet I'm personally not too certain about that.

In the past we had an ice house to hot house change at about 200ppm CO2 (it rose to 285ppm shortly after it got to be a hot house climate), but back then a majority of the landmasses were located near the equator.



Eventually.

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Lafiel said:
Augen said:

As a professional in the field, how much does the percentage of carbon in our atmoshpere affect such things?

In the past we had an ice house to hot house change at about 200ppm CO2 (it rose to 285ppm shortly after it got to be a hot house climate), but back then a majority of the landmasses were located near the equator.


How can that be? Those 200ppm and 280ppm ice core measurements go back tens of thousands and at max a hundred thousands of years back in time, correct?

While landmasses to significantly move is a process that takes millions of years, doesn't it?