Earth is often referred to as the "Blue Planet", but this is a grave misnomer since earth is only blue about 10% of its "glacial cycle". For
100,000 years of its 120,000 year periods earth is a ball of white as glaciers extend from the north pole to places such as Ohio and southern France,
and glaciers extend from the south pole to places such as Zaire and the Hymalayas.
We have been in an abnormal time period never before seen on earth. All interglacial periods indeed all time periods are very widely fluctuating in
temperatures. This interglacial period however, has been almost exactly a constant temperature, no one can really explain why nor does anyone really
know what this means for the future cycles of our world.
We do know that the glaciation of our world began when carbon-dioxide levels dropped, or carbon-dioxide levels dropped when glaciation began, but the
one truth we do know for certain is our world is no longer a wet blue world, but an ice ball that every once in a while thaws out.
This is rarely ever mentioned because after all, humans were born in and survived the last glacial period, but it is interesting to understand that
the earth as we know it in as little as 2,000 years may be completely different, and yet that is how it is normally it is as our world is right now
that is abnormal.
Most geologists seem to think that the next glaciation period is 3,000-15,000 years away.
But if we keep putting green-house gasses into the atmosphere it can be as far as 50,000 years away.
Regardless there is an interesting fact that arises from the abnormal lack of variations in this interglacial period which began 8,000 years ago.
Humans began to farm all over the world about 8,000 years ago, and our current civilizations even are dependent upon this steady regular temperature,
had our interglacial period been like all others before it, with varrying temperatures, farming and civilization as we know it could not exist. We'd
still be hunter-gatherers as crops would freeze one year and grow beautifully the next.
But one certainty is that some day, our world will change again and stay that way for the next 100,000 years. The oceans will drop 200 meters
exposing hundreds of miles of new lands from the coasts. But older lands will be absorbed by continental glaciers which will rise 3,000 meters above
the earth. The areas near the northern temperates will become as arid as deserts as the moisture is sucked from the atmosphere and locked in ice.
It's amazing how much we owe to timing and a fluke.
Anyways my source for this is "Earth's Dynamic Systems" I was just thumbing through that again and as usual my interest in Ice Ages and
Anartica-like time periods was piqued when reading about the glaciation periods.
Figured it would be interesting to share how rare of a time we really live in, 100,000 years from now people will only know earth as the "Ice
Planet" where it has relatively few regions that are not covered by snow at least seasonally.
Sometimes though, modern life is so boring it's a shame this next glaciation period won't start...the day after tomorrow eh?