Humanity’s burning of fossil fuels is postponing the next global ice age for at least 100,000 years, according to new research that has discovered the tipping point which plunges the planet into deep freezes.
Showing that human activity, via climate change, can alter global processes like ice ages is compelling evidence that the planet has entered a new geological epoch, dubbed the Anthropocene, according to the scientists.
Other recent research listed evidence from plastic pollution to the mass extinction of wildlife to show that the Earth has entered the Anthropocene.
The new research also shows that a major ice age was narrowly missed just before the industrial revolution , probably because the development of agriculture had nudged the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere just above the tipping point.
“The bottom line is we are basically skipping a whole glacial cycle, which is unprecedented,” said Andrey Ganopolski, at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Germany and who led the research. “It is mind-boggling that humankind is able to interfere with a mechanism that shaped the world as we know it.