Updated: Sep 8, 2021
Humans did not cause global warming, but they have exacerbated it to a point of serious degradation. So how does the climate change? What causes ice ages to begin & end? see sections 1-3
🌏1. #milankovichcycles Earth’s relationship w the Sun is key! Today, we are tilted at 23.5 degrees, but that tilt changes. Approximately every 41,000 years our tilt changes, between 21 to 24 degrees. This can cause latitudes to receive more or less heat from the Sun and in time, those areas can get really cold or really hot. The direction we rotate changes about every 28,000 years, this may also cause heat to be distributed differently around the planet. Sometimes we revolve around the Sun in more of a circle and other times its more oval like. That changes about every 100,000. How close we are to the Sun can play a small role in how much heat comes toward the planet.
🌏2. Continental drift: The continents shift ALL the time. We have probably had several “pangeas.” When continents move close to other ones or move away from other ones, they can block or reduce ocean water flow. If warm water flow is reduced near a continent, it will start to experience colder temperatures. And vice versa.
🌏3. GG concentrations change ALL the time. We know they trap heat, so if concentrations of GGs rise (like CO2) then the planet will get warmer. Meteors, volcanoes and other disasters can change GG concentrations.
🌏 What about humans?
Since the mid-1700s humans have been burning coal for energy. Coal is a fossil fuel that lies deep within the Earth and like everything on this planet, it contains carbon. When carbon is burned, it changes into a gas… CO2. Soon, we started burning oil and then we started burning natural gas. ALL of them have carbon and all of them release CO2 into the atmosphere. The more we burn, the more GG concentrations rise. So, while the last ice age peaked 20,000 years ago and the glaciers began to melt, it was predicted they would not melt for 15-20,000 years (now <5,000), and that the Earth would kick in and cool off again. Burning fossils fuels prevents Earth from cooling off naturally. I hope this helps!