Ice Age Postponed? You wish

The upcoming ice age has been postponed indefinitely, headlines this article by John Cook.

27 Jan 10 –The whole premise of the website Ice Age Now is that a new ice age could begin any day,” says Cook. “Its (sic) time to put all those ice age fears to rest once and for all.”

“Just a few centuries ago, the planet experienced a mild ice age, quaintly dubbed the Little Ice Age,” says Cook.

Not sure why he uses the word “quaintly.” Maybe it’s quaint that millions of people died of starvation during that “mild ice age.”

“Part of the Little Ice Age coincided with a period of low solar activity termed the Maunder Minimum (named after astronomer Edward Maunder),” Cook continues. “It’s believed that a combination of lower solar output and high volcanic activity were a major contributor (Free 1999, Crowley 2001), with changes in ocean circulation also having an effect on European temperatures (Mann 2002).”

Cook then displays a chart showing that solar activity is declining.

Solar activity declining

Total Solar Irradiance (TSI). TSI from 1880 to 1978 from Solanki. TSI from 1979 to 2009 from PMOD.

“Could we be heading into another Maunder Minimum? asks Cook. “Solar activity is currently showing a long term cooling trend. 2009 saw solar output at its lowest level in over a century.”

So far so good.

Other than using that word “quaintly,” Cook is spot on. But he then wanders off, insisting that “the warming from man-made greenhouse gases far outstrips any potential cooling even if the sun was to return to Maunder Minimum levels.”

And that leads him to what he must consider his most telling argument.

“Our climate has experienced much more dramatic change than the Little Ice Age,” says Cook. “Over the past 400,000 years, the planet has experienced ice age conditions, punctuated every 100,000 years or so by brief warm intervals. These warm periods, called interglacials, typically last around 10,000 years. Our current interglacial began around 11,000 years ago. Could we be on the brink of the end of our interglacial?”

Cook then displays a temperature graph of the past 420,000 years, showing the cyclical nature of ice ages (and warming).

Cyclical nature of climate

 Temperature change at Vostok, Antarctica (Petit 2000). The timing of warmer  interglacials is highlighted in green; our current interglacial, the Holocene, is the one on the far right of the graph.

“How do ice ages begin?” asks Cook. “Changes in the earth’s orbit cause less sunlight (insolation) to fall on the northern hemisphere during summer. Northern ice sheets melt less during summer and gradually grow over thousands of years. This increases the Earth’s albedo which amplifies the cooling, spreading the ice sheets further. This process lasts around 10,000 to 20,000 years, bringing the planet into an ice age.”

Again, Cook is spot on. Past changes in climate have indeed been caused by variations in the Earth’s orbit.

Take another look at that chart. See the sharp peaks every 100,000 years or so? Each peak marks the abrupt end of a period of warmth similar to today’s and the catastrophic beginning of a new ice age.

These peaks are caused by a process called orbital stretch – the periodic stretching and shrinking of our elliptical orbit around the sun. (I discuss orbital stretch in Not by Fire but by Ice.)

But don’t worry, that’s not going to happen this time, says Cook. “As things stand now, the combination of relatively weak orbital forcing and the long atmospheric lifetime of carbon dioxide is likely to generate a longer interglacial period than has been seen in the last 2.6 million years.”

“The current interglacial is expected to last another 15,000 years.” says Cook.

Another 15,000 years!

Wait a minute. Take yet another look at the chart. See where we are today? This chart shows that each of those previous interglacials were warmer than today. Warmer!

I thought we were supposed to be enduring “unprecedented” global warming.

Never you mind. This time around, we humans are going to accomplish the impossible. We are going to override orbital stretch! We are going to override a planetary force that has existed for at least 4.6 billion years!

You wish.

  • Can’t Cook see what happened about 420,000 years ago? Temperatures were warmer than today. Did humans cause that period of “global warming”?
  • Can’t Cook see what happened about 325,000 years ago? Temperatures were warmer than today. Did humans cause that period of “global warming”?
  • Can’t Cook see what happened about 240,000 years ago? Temperatures were warmer than today. Did humans cause that period of “global warming”?
  • Can’t Cook see what happened about 120,000 years ago? Temperatures were warmer than today. Did humans cause that period of “global warming”?
  • Can’t Cook see that there is a cycle?
  • Can’t Cook see that temperatures are now lower than they were just a few thousand years ago?
  • Can’t Cook see that we rapidly descended into an ice age after every single interglacial in the past 450,000 years?
  • How in the world can he say the world is warming when his own graph shows just the opposite?
  • Can’t Cook see why I fear that we are now headed into the next ice age?

See entire article here:

I wrote a similar response to a similar article that appeared on the same website in September 2010. That response was entitled “Website tries to debunk iceagenow  – But their own graph proves my point.”


31 thoughts on “Ice Age Postponed? You wish”

  1. Cook expects another 15,000 years of temperate climate?
    Hey we are good but not that good. Mankinds abilities and power has real limits.

  2. Well I say it is very nice of him to supply a link and likely send more readers to this site so they can access the facts for themselves….. I wonder if he thought of that 🙂

    Keep up the good work.

  3. Cook is… a Cook who is cooking up stuff.
    Picking some cherries here, adding some hubris there,
    Cook cooks up climate BS
    But he won’t fool us
    Cook can’t.

  4. My fave weather blogger out of Kentucky has been hinting at the 2011/2012 winter being severe. He has been watching typical winter weather patterns developing MONTHS earlier than usual and this is his latest thought (he is ALWAYS right):

    “… it further strengthens my thoughts on these cutoff lows sending a signal as to what may be coming this winter. There has been one analog year I’ve been looking at for a few months now and have talked about how it had a similar amount of fall cutoff lows. It had a similar Pacific Ocean signal as well and that is making me really take note of it. Why am I not telling you the year? If I did, you may never look at Thanksgiving weather the same.” Several comments refer to “The Great Appalachian Storm of 1950”..

  5. It looks like the global warming community is only now waking up to the existence of past ice ages and the fact that we are near the end of the current interglacial.

    Expect more of these King Canute like pompous commands to the glacial-interglacial cycle to stop cycling. I dont think they will have much effect.

  6. We cannot even predict the day after, correctly??
    Any way, I believe there is a cycle and yes a Maunder Minimum/Dalton type cycle will come, but that’s it! The world will not end with water, not with ice, not with a meteorite!!The Bible tells me what to expect until the return of Christ. The world won’t end in any such ways, that’s too nice and easy. No, No, everyone will see Him coming and kneel before Him. But it will be exactly like Noah’s ark and there is a cut-off time. Those who call at Him for help then, it will be too late!!!

    • I have absolute faith in God. There is zero chance that the universe “just happened,” in my mind. However, that doesn’t mean that I am blithely sitting back expected Christ to ride his horse in and save the good and condemn the bad. My God loves all his children. However, whether this is the time or not really doesn’t matter, does it? For if it isn’t, the ice age will come just as it has in all these natural cycles. I live in preparation for the future. If Christ arrives and saves us all, that’s good. But just in case you have misread your Revelations, Theo, prepare for what can happen – just in case.

    • You are comparing apples to oranges. Weather is not Climate. Climate is not weather. Weather is a component of climate. There are areas of micro-climate which produce their own weather that often differs from that of the surrounding locale. This phenomenon can be seen around large, high mountains, deep valleys, and large bodies of water,etc.

      Do not confuse weather with climate. Just because science can’t always tell you about tomorrow’s rain with accuracy, does not mean that it can’t decipher long term climatic cycles.

      Weather events are influenced by an untold host of random factors. Many of which will remain unknown simply because there can be so many of them. For instance, the weather report says rain in your area. Your friend two blocks away gets a good soaking. Your yard goes dry. Why? Who knows? Perhaps it was the fact that the moisture load in the clouds became too great at that very point over your friend’s house. Perhaps he lives just a little bit closer to that big body of water than you do. There are just too many tiny local factors to consider when predicting weather. Can the weather report tell you a storm front is coming, or tornadoes? Yes … (Big Picture) Can they tell you rain will fall on your yard, or that a tornado will hit your home? No… (Small Picture.)

      Weather is like rolling dice. One slight random bump in the wrong direction will give you snake eyes. Climate is like Black Jack. Once the deck gets thin, it’s fairly easy to know what cards remain to be played.

      Weather is small. Climate is large. Weather is brief. Climate is long. For these simple reasons, and many others, climate cycles can be observed and plotted.

      Climate is the “Big Picture” composed of big forces, and it leaves big clues behind. Weather is the “small picture” the clues of which are often hidden after a relatively short time; days, weeks, months, and rarely years.

      Climate is a cycle. Weather is a pattern. Cycles repeat at regular intervals. Patterns, according to, can be defined as “a natural or chance marking, configuration, or design: patterns of frost on the window.” Thus, Climate cycles occur at cyclical intervals. Weather patterns are a natural or chance design. Which makes them much less predictable.

      Don’t Confuse Climate With Weather….

  7. State Meteorological (Met) Office publishes in Nature its prediction that Europe could be facing a return of the “little ice age” that gripped Britain 300 years ago, causing decades of bitter winters.
    Glacials start with volcanic clouding:
    Rising quakes – volcanic activity – cloud cover – storms – floods, as happened just before world-devastating 5year 1815-20 Tambora volcanic winter
    and during most of the Little Ice Age, that provoked the cannibalic COLLAPSE of deforestating Mayas, Aztecs, Incas…

  8. Maybe Mr Cook should follow a “geology of quaternary” course before start speaking. Or, at least, take a look to the levels of co2 found in samples of ice of 120.000 years ago; they were far beyond today’s levels. 120.000 years ago how much could be the anthropic contribution to that levels so high?
    Anthropic contribution to global warming is like a man with a garden hose pouring water into the sea while the tide is rising and claiming himself to be the cause of sea level change…

  9. Variations in Earths orbit..NO Im sure its due to the Landscheidt cycle. Suns output modulated by the solar angular momentum modulated by the orbits of the gas giant planets. The graphs seem to fit too well. Pity Science doesnt take a better look at it.

  10. When an enemy voluntarily walks into your camp, it is usually a sign that his surrender is not too far off. Keep up the good work; word is starting to spread.

  11. Cook ,is just another one of those global warmers that have no clue about what controls earth’s climatic system.

    It is the SUN , you fool.

    If solar flux readings can stays sub 90 for the most part, expect a temperature decline. The sun sets the tables for the items that control earth’s climate.

    solar activity
    volcanic activity
    ao,nao to name a few atmospheric circulations
    cosmic rays
    soi index

    earth’s magnetic field strength etc etc

    When the magnetic fields are weak due to low solar and earth’s magnetic field being in a weaken state expect an increase in geological activity, more climatic extremes ,and a decline in temperatures.

    I wrote more extensively about this on previous post.

  12. Temperature graph of the past 420,000 years:

    If you copy the 4th interglacial over the 5th (last) interglacial and keep the graph overlapping at the area of -2 Celsius temperature change the the graph fits. The width is kind of the same.

    I mean that the temperature change of the 5th interglacial didn’t go as high as the 4th one but at the -2 Celsius the years are quite the same.

    Basically, the graph of the 5the one is capped when compared to the 4th one.

    If the reason for having ice ages is not random then I can see where it will go.

  13. Crook has ZERO credibility as far as I’m concerned. Another agenda driven site ! He lost it all when he makes the claim that the world is warming LOL. He’s an offshoot of Al Gore. Forget him. The best way to save your vision is to click the X on top right of your screen whenever you see “Cook the Crook.”

  14. I like Robert’s site for the interesting weather news and read it everyday BUT I do not think an ice age is imminent. This has been a ridiculously warm fall in Maine after a brutally hot summer. I spoke with a forester yesterday who said he can never remember the fall foliage being so late. Yesterday’s high in Portland of 85 smashed the record of 79 and it is in the 80s again today. The climate here has warmed considerably in the last 20 years with no end in sight. I’m not sure however that man is causing global warming. It may be a natural cycle that we are also contributing to.

    • I find your comments interesting. I used to live in Maine and still have family there. They don’t seem to agree with your report of the climate. In my years there, I can remember very warm summers and late falls, too, and what you describe sounds just like the weather I knew when I lived there. Granted, I left Maine about 20 years ago, so maybe, just maybe you are accurately describing your sense of the past 20 years, but that doesn’t seem to jive well with my family’s reports.

    • All the reports I’ve seen indicate that the North Eastern U.S. has had considerably more rainfall the past couple of Summers with considerably colder and snowier Winters in between. And, from what I have gathered from several forecasts, it appears that this Winter will be extra cold with above average snow fall.

    • Meanwhile here in Wisconsin the leaves turned and dropped in a week, fall is two weeks ahead of schedule. A miserable September made summer scream to a halt. Seven days of so called unheard of warmth the beginning of October is the only that that saved much of our crops. Send some of your warmth west.

  15. An interesting comment, really, in this article – this interglacial is going to last another 15000 years. I won’t even attempt to understand how he came to that conclusion, but I do have to wonder this – IF we can extend this interglacial by 15000 years by what we have done in the past, why wouldn’t we extend it forever? And, secondarily, WHAT follows the interglacial? Is he still implying that an ice age is going to follow since we continues to refer to the period as an interglacial? Again, I have to wonder based on what information if we could cause the interglacial to extend that much more then the past suggests?

    • The bottom line is this. The guy is a lying hack. He obviously has his fingers in the global warming pie. By writing this article, he can come back to it (once the global warming lie is dead) and claim that he was “misquoted” or “misunderstood.” (Like they always do…)

      Of course, most of us on this site wouldn’t believe him. But there are a whole bunch of pea brains wandering loose in this world, that might, at that later date, think him some kind of a profound prophet.

      Just saying, ya know. This seems to be one of the MOs employed by these lackeys on the left.

  16. Personally I’m beyond believing that they’re ignorant of the coming cooling. This is their response to what they face and like a criminal caught red handed the louder they cry to drown the evidence.
    They’re just screaming mercenaries.

  17. I think Cook is buttering both sides of his bread. If you do a search for “ice age”, you will find his article, as well as Robert’s. If you do a search for global warming, you will also find his article.

    And I also think the folks on top of the “pyramid” (so to speak) know an ice age is coming. That’s why they’ve made all this todo about global warming. If you knew an ice age was coming, with sea levels dropping and northern climes becoming unhabitable, you might make a big deal in the media of every little tropical blow-up to frighten people so they will give up their coastal properties, so you could come along and pick them up at bargain-basement prices.

  18. Agreed. However why the “recent”increased oscillation about the “norm and at the latest peak? Why different and is it important?

  19. These Dorks think they can stop an Ice Age..? Heck, they couldn’t even stop holes from forming in the ozone layer, even though they tried really hard to legislate them into non-existence. Wait, I almost forgot …. O-Bummer did stop the Sea Levels from rising! Whew! What a relief that is. LoL

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