Originally posted by John von Radowitz, Irish Examiner, 1/24/05HUMANS may have unwittingly saved themselves from a looming ice age by interfering with the Earth's climate, according to a new study.
The findings from a team of American climate experts suggest that were it not for greenhouse gases produced by humans, the world would be well on the way to a frozen Armageddon.
Scientists have traditionally viewed the relative stability of the Earth's climate since the end of the last ice age 10,000 years ago as being due to natural causes, but there is evidence that changes in solar radiation and greenhouse gas concentrations should have driven the Earth towards glacial conditions over the last few thousand years.
What stopped it has been the activity of humans, both ancient and modern, argue the scientists.
Over the last 8,000 years carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have gradually risen, when previous trends indicated that it should have dropped.
Methane, another greenhouse gas, had also increased instead of fallen.
The unexpected trends could be explained by massive early deforestation in Eurasia, rice farming in Asia, the introduction of livestock, and the burning of wood and plant material, all of which led to an outpouring of greenhouse emissions.