Prepare for Ice Age Now, says top paleoclimatologist

“Believe it or not, the last glacial started with ‘global warming!'” explains paleoclimatologist George Kuka. Warming is good,  Ice Ages are deadly and may even kill millions.

I originally posted this article by Terrance Aym on 28 Mar 2011. I have updated it to reflect Mr. Kukla’s passing.

Prepare for Ice Age Now, says top paleoclimatologist

Believe it or not, the last glacial started with ‘global warming!’
By Terrance Aym

(Excerpts) – Geologic records show that Ice Ages are the norm, punctuated by brief periods of warming. In 2011, one of the most highly respected paleoclimatologists – George Kukla, 77, retired professor of paleoclimatology at Columbia University and researcher at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory – weighed in and warned everyone to prepare for a new Ice Age.

The “Earth has experienced an ongoing cycle of ice ages dating back millions of years. Cold, glacial periods affecting the polar to mid-latitudes persist for about 100,000 years, punctuated by briefer, warmer periods called interglacials,” said Kukla.

Kukla asserted that all Ice Ages start with a period of global warming. They are the the harbingers of new Ice Ages. Actually, he explained, warming is good. Ice Ages are deadly and may even kill millions.

Can Mankind stop it? No. Just as humanity cannot affect the long term climate of the planet, neither can it stop an Ice Age from happening. The climate is primarily driven by the sun.

“I feel we’re on pretty solid ground in interpreting orbit around the sun as the primary driving force behind Ice Age glaciation,” he said. “The relationship is just too clear and consistent to allow reasonable doubt. It’s either that, or climate drives orbit, and that just doesn’t make sense.”

During a lengthy interview with Gelf Magazine, Kukla explained: “What is happening is very similar to the time 115,000 years ago, when the last glaciation started…. Believe it or not, the last glacial started with ‘global warming!'”

He knew that global warming always precedes an Ice Age. The history of that is in the ice core records repeating itself every 100,000 years or so over millions of years.

Generations ago, scientists believed Ice Ages advanced slowly taking tens of thousands of years. Now some researchers have revealed startling evidence that an Ice Age can be triggered in under 10 years.

Warming is much more preferable than cooling. Warming would actually help Mankind; cooling will do just the opposite.

Kukla and his colleagues warned that as the ice starts marching southward from the Arctic there will be “substantially lowered food production” and evidence will abound of “extreme weather anomalies” in both the northern and southern latitudes.

Global superstorms may break out. Some regions may experience anomalous cold spells while others roast from spiking temperatures never before seen by civilization.

Those things too are exactly what’s happening now.

Not taken into Kulka’s model of an encroaching Ice Age were the facts and possible impact of the magnetic pole shift, the shifting core of the Earth, or the revelation by NASA and the ESA that the sun is going to fall into a quiet period for the next 30 to 50 years.

That exceptional solar minimum cycle was expected to start in 2014, perhaps earlier.

It seems the odds are good that the Earth will slip into an extended cooling, or so-called mini-Ice Age. Whether that becomes an extended 100,000 year full-fledged Ice Age even Kulka didn’t know.

George Kukla’s biography (as published by

George Kukla 14 March 1930 – 31 May 2014), micropalentologist and Special Research Scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, was a pioneer in the study of solar forcing of climate changes. He was the lead author of the scientific paper that first supported Milutin Milankovic’s theory of glacial cycles by investigating the stratigraphy in deep-sea sediment cores from the southern Indian Ocean. In the cores were clear imprints of Milankovic’s proposed cycles. In his paper he wrote, “We are certain now that changes in the Earth’s orbital geometry caused the ice ages. The evidence is so strong that other explanations must now be discarded or modified.” Prior to joining Columbia in 1971, he had published landmark studies in Czechoslovakia, where he was a member of the Czechoslovakian Academy of Sciences

I originally posted this article here on 28 Mar 2011. Thanks to reader indiciml for reminding me.


30 thoughts on “Prepare for Ice Age Now, says top paleoclimatologist”

  1. With what I see and read about the climate, I do believe that we are heading in to an ice age; mini or extended only time will tell.
    Sunspots confuse me, as they are cooler areas on the sun. Could somebody explain why the absent of sunspots (cooler areas) helps to cause global cooling.

    • Sunspots, although cooler than the surrounding surface, are actually explosions of energetic particles and energy, and some of these particles/energy eventually make their way to the planets of the solar system, and through a complex interaction with the atmosphere, affect jet stream patterns, etc.
      At least that’s how I understand it.
      But understand, sunspots are only but one part of the entire output of the Sun that has a measurable effect on climate.
      Other parts are the solar magnetic field (varies over time), total solar irradiance, etc.

    • Paul, given that the changes in Total Solar Irradiance are tiny I’d suggest that the sun-spot count is indicative of other changes in the Sun that DO alter climate such as increased solar winds from coronal holes and a declining magnetosphere. Sun and Earth seem to undergo simultaneous magnetic die-back. When ours reduces, the Cosmic Galactic Rays pinging around the universe can penetrate our atmosphere to a greater depth. Svensmark reckons they seed some levels of cloud which shade the ground.
      An important issue is that these times of magnetic die-back come after a period of cyclic increasing solar activity which correlate with atmospheric warming.
      For glaciation to set in we would need a long period of ocean warming to supply sufficient water vapour and snowfall for glaciers to grow. We’d also need a wandering jet-stream to drag enough warm moist mid-latitude air into the normally cold desiccated polar regions. We’d also need an orbit around our star that was more circular than elliptical. The elliptical orbit brings us close to the Sun in January and this really does increase solar warming of the oceans and ground and limits massive ice accumulation in the N hemisphere winter.
      Felix reckons ocean warming from the crust is a significant factor and this sounds very plausible to me.
      My guess is that many factors have to coincide for glaciation to set in.

    • The absence of sunspots, as in the current solar minimum in the 11 year cycle, has an indirect cooling effect on the climate. It results in a weaker solar wind reaching earth, and a weaker solar magnetic field. This in turn allows more galactic cosmic rays to flood into the atmosphere, which in turn causes increased cloud nucleation on earth which cools the planet by reflecting more sunlight. The weaker solar magnetic field also weakens the jet streams, making them more loopy (meridional) and less taut (zonal), which allows fierce cold waves to enter lower middle latitudes. For more information check out the You-Tube channels Grand Solar Minimum and Suspicious Observers.

    • As I understand things, sunspots come with high magnetic activity. The dearth of sunspots indicates weak Solar magnetism, which allows more cosmic rays to arrive at our atmosphere. Cosmic rays cause clouds that reflect more sunlight into space. QED

    • John Oglander is correct. This is about galactic cosmic rays that are allowed into the atmosphere, and not be reflected by solar plasma. One other thing that John O. didn’t mention is that cosmic rays affect geological changes too. Solar rays also destroy/change rock cells, allowing plates under tension to be released, resulting in earthquakes and volcanic activity. Volcanic clouds also deflect solar heat resulting in cooler climate. Soo, the old saying of “Its the Sun Stupid!” is very true.

  2. This does not mean an ice age but my bird baths were frozen solid this morning. 11/12/19. No big deal I guess but understand I live in Austin, Texas.

  3. I read somewhere that little ice ages typically start full ice ages – seems reasonable that might happen.

  4. We definitely are having crop problems. Frozen spuds missing their harvest date:
    Has a review of crop losses including the loss of seed potato crop, so next year is already challenged.

    This next one looks at USDA charts for crop harvests of grains, soy, and more.

    Thumbnail is: corn and soy, the 2 biggies, about 50% challenged. Things from southern States OK. Rice, sorghum, peanuts.

    So processed foods that depend on corn, soy, corn oil, soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup (just about everything sweet from sodas to jam) along with feed for pigs and chicken will be challenged and pricier.

    Wheat doing OK this year, but failure to harvest corn in time to plant winter wheat makes next year harvest smaller.

    So toast, peanut butter and grass fed beef, fine. Bacon and eggs not so much as they are corn and soy dependent. Then forget the corn flakes and polenta, plan on Rice Checks and rice pilaf instead.

    Not horrible this year, but the same weather next year will be a big deal. Biggest problem is the loss of seed growers crops (folks who make the seeds to plant the crops) in Oregon and for potatoes in the upper Midwest to West. That’s harder to recover and takes a year or two. If weather stays like this, they have to move the seed growers to warmer land before they run out of archived seed stocks.

    I give it 2 years max to troubled times or maybe to recover IF we get better weather. Basically, we can absorb one year like this, 2 not so much. And IF warm weather returns, next year is still problematic due to seedsman losses.

  5. “Just as humanity cannot affect the long term climate of the planet, neither can it stop an Ice Age from happening. The climate is primarily driven by the sun.”

    Agree but I’m all in favour of opening up Panama so the Pacific can circulate into the Atlantic like it did 3 million years ago as an experiment to end the ice age.

  6. A Mini Ice Age or a Big One will make little difference since either will last for the rest of my life. So, it’s all the same to me.

  7. No mention at all of the ‘geo-engineering’ taking place every single day.
    Sun blocking is in full effect, look up david keith of harvard, david king of cambridge. quote ‘we can create an ice age on the cheap’ and ‘we have to re-freeze the arctic’.
    It’s not natural and it’s all been man made.

  8. Could the pre-ice age period of global warming discovered at the end of the last interglacial (Eemian) be caused by the sudden heat outburst of a solar micro nova, which trigger ice ages? The whole concept of 12 000 year cycle micrae novae (linked to 12 000 magnetic terrestrial pole shifts) needs much more study.

  9. It is obvious, this will not be an easy winter. And whether some store shelves are empty. Or the prices are beyond many peoples reach. The effect is the same. For most preparing for anything seems to be a joke. I am in an area, where winter clothing is not even in the stores.
    And since humans can’t do anything about climate change, they certainly can’t do anything about the sun.

    Maybe Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s Green New Deal will save us.

  10. Not to put too fine a point on it but the earth is always either warming or cooling. An ice age is just an extreme cooling cycle, at its end, colder than when it started. So it is impossible for it not to happen after a warming period. Just logic and common sense.

  11. Does anyone know the best places to be during this coming ice age? I’m ready to leave S Cal but don’t know where to go and can’t find any info on this.

    • Well Texas is a good spot as well as south Carolina below nothern north Carolina to Maryland even those they were not covered in ice it was a likey cold very cold climate due to the glacers not to far North and west of there.not sure about there summers those doing max glacer cycles.Right now summers here tend to be pretty humid with 80s and 90s quite common.

  12. I just came across this relevant link to an article about Dr. Kukla on CaldorUp

    “The last glacial was accompanied by the increase of areally averaged global mean surface temperature, alias global warming. … But also increasing was the temperature difference between the oceans and the poles, the basic condition of polar ice growth. Believe it or not, the last glacial started with ‘global warming’!

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