A consensus of scientists in a report (Interglacials of the Last 800,000 Years, by Past Interglacials Working Group of AGU Publications, March 5, 2016) are now predicting that the huge rise in atmospheric CO2 that is occurring so FAST geologically will likely vastly extend our Holocene interglacial life cycle well beyond an expected 5,000 years to 50,000 years - before the next strong drop in the northern hemisphere insolation (amount of solar radiation received by earth’s surface) will occur! The threshold for a cold glacial depends not only on insolation but also on atmospheric CO2 content. This stunning news makes it ever more critical to stabilize and reduce a growing sky-high atmospheric CO2 concentration of 405ppm today to no more than 350ppm by 2050.
We can consider ourselves “lucky” today (a strange choice of words. I’ll admit) that the sun’s radiation is much dimmer than in the prior Eemian interglacial - when sea levels rose 6-9 meters higher than sea levels now!. And sun during our Holocene interglacial will remain dimmer for a very long time, according to scientists. BUT, even a modest Holocene solar insolation process, combined with continuing current very high CO2 concentrations and a peak seasonal earth warming by a perihelion - i.e., **a time when the earth is closest to the sun in the summer,**as IS occurring now in the Arctic, rather than in the winter - is a planet heating-up recipe for an unfathomable climate disaster in this century.
Extensive analysis of air bubbles trapped in ancient ice sheets show that CO2 atmospheric concentrations had remained within a 170-280ppm range for past 800,000 years. During this time, a number of ±100,000 year glacial cycles occurred with ±20,000 year warming interglacials in between. Often, coincidences of solar maximums and variations in earth’s orbit first triggered temperature changes later amplified by CO2, CH3, N2O emissions. Scientists believe rising temperatures at the end of glacials probably created positive feedbacksof outgassings of ocean-stored CO2 built up over thousands of years.
So too today, one might think - given the extraordinary FAST warming up of oceans from extremely high CO2 emissions absorbed by the oceans - that substantial ocean CO2 outgassings might well occur this century and certainly onward. Compared to the thousands of years glacial and interglacials developed over the past 800,000 years, we have phenominally progressed from a CO2 concentration of 280ppm in 1750 to 405ppm today and rising - all in a TINY 268 years. And 75% of that increase occurred even FASTER in a TINY, TINY 58 years from 310ppm in 1960 to 405ppm in 2018.
This is the world of man-made climate change showing its face with record, prolonged, extreme temperatures; massive, repetitive floods and fires; loss of many lives and enormous, costly physical destruction. This is just the beginning. The CHANCES and TIME left to mitigate, delay, adapt to, even avoid some of the worst effects of global warming are getting less and less.
The Trump Administration is scientifically blind to the fact - and doesn’t seem to give a damn - that human-induced greenhouse gas warming of the earth by 4-5 degrees Celsius presents a planet-kiling threat to all living species. The Republican Administration is also blind to the reality that oil and natural gas reserves are finite. In essence, they will be depleted, technically and cost-wise unexplorable by 2075 … a time when our 7.5 billion population today wiil have risen by 2.5 billion to 10 billion by 2075 - a TINY 57 years from now!
I want to remain hopeful against all odds that president Trump (or his succesor) and his climate-change science denier gang WAKE UP to the priority for a RAPID societal transition to use of green energy sources (sun, wind, hydro, nuclear, etc.) and green living styles in a multiple of small,big, creative ways related to, for example: vehicle size and energy efficiency, frequency of use: greatly extended bicycle use and paths; mass transit systems; green agriculture methods, food supply, eating non-meat foods; heating and air-conditioning systems; 100% green energy use in the airplane industry; well-designed tree-planting and strengthening programs (especially in cities), etc…
The risks of not taking aggressive actions top-down and bottom-up are HUGE. Nations like the Scandinavian countries, Germany, Scotland, the Netherlands (finally), Spain and others as well as states like California pand ±16 other U.S. states fully recognize the urgency for everyone - individuals, communities, governments, corporations, research institutions - to support plans and policies that help stabilize and reduce global atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions to at least 350ppm by 2050.
A pipe dream given our polarized society and broken political system from top to bottom? Perhaps. But I find it extremely hard to give up on our nation’s ability to come together and get its act right on super critical fundamental issues seriously affecting everyone … and in the case of climate, change, an issue affecting our livability on this planet.