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Either Water or Ice

Scientists want to reassure us that while another ice age, as portrayed in the film The Day After Tomorrow, is definitely in our future, it won't happen again soon. While this may be true in the natural course of events, global warming could cause it reoccur much sooner than expected.

The next Ice Age is at least 15,000 years in our future?unless global warming changes the equation. The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) says, "Without human influence, we could expect the present warm period to last at least another 15,000 years." This data comes from new evidence from the deepest, oldest Antarctica ice core ever extracted, that traces the weather back 740,000 years.

"These results tell us that we won't have an Ice Age any time soon," says researcher Eric Wolff. "However, we may have a heat wave if we are unable to control CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere?By understanding the natural changes seen in the ice record, we will create better models to predict how climate might change in the future?We have never seen greenhouse gases anything like what we have seen today."

It can't freeze soon enough for some of the isolated island nations that are being threatened by the rising sea level. Uentabo Neemia-McKenzie studied the 100,000 islanders living in Kiribati, a scattered Micronesian archipelago. He says, "They know when [floods are] coming, usually around Christmas and New Year, that's the time they buttress their houses?But now that predictability has gone?and that makes them more vulnerable to the changes. They are worried, they are still grappling and trying to make sense of the change." The UN reports that the number of people worldwide who are vulnerable to devastating floods is expected to rise to 2 billion by 2050.

Some people think the world is destined to end by 2009?find out why.

Photo credit: http://www.freeimages.co.uk/

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