The Earth has been in an interglacial period known as the Holocene for more than 11,000 years. It was conventional wisdom that “the typical interglacial period lasts about 12,000 years,” but this has been called into question recently. For example, an article in Nature argues that the current interglacial might be most analogous to a previous interglacial that lasted 28,000 years. Predicted changes in orbital forcing suggest that the next glacial period would begin at least 50,000 years from now, even in absence of human-made global warming.
It is difficult for scientists to predict when the earth will have another glacial period. More data may be needed. The earth has reached unprecedented global temperatures, and it hasn’t happened yet. However, global warming has the capacity to cause abrupt climate change because it could disrupt earth’s wind patterns. It is theorized that one of earth’s ice ages was caused when the Himalayan mountains grew so rapidly they disrupted these wind patterns.
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