Researchers identify carbon dioxide as main culprit in melting Ice Age glaciers

It is emerging that increase in the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere contributed the most to the decline of glaciers at the end of Ice Age. Previously, there were debates about what exactly drove the Ice Age decline. But a new study from researchers reveals that higher amounts of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere drove glacier melt in the Ice Age some 11,000 years ago.

Authors of a new study published in the Nature Communications journal say that carbon dioxide was the main driving force behind the Ice Age glacier retreat. The study apparently echoes the impact of global warming.

According to the findings, issues like solar radiation, ocean currents, and ice sheets may have been factors in the last Ice Age glacier melt, but their contribution was small.

50% Increase in Carbon Dioxide Gas (CO2)

The study was that for the 7,000 years of the last Ice Age glacier retreat, the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere rose by 50% from 180 parts per million (ppm) to 280 ppm. After the 7,000 of glacier melting, the levels of the glaciers remained stable up until the beginning of the industrial revolution.

Global Warming on the Rise

From the start of the industrial era to the present, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has reached 400 ppm from 280 ppm.

During the same period, global temperatures have risen by 0.8-degree Celsius on the average, and the rate of global warming is rising.

The researchers, led by Dr. Jeremy Shakun of Boston College, are forecasting a bleak future for the world if action is not taken to cut carbon dioxide emissions. They say that in the event that nothing is done to curb greenhouse emissions, the world would lose up to 90% of its remaining glaciers in a matter of a few hundred years.

Potential Risks

The accelerated glacier melting poses serious challenges to life on Earth. Among other risks, rapid melting of glaciers will increase sea levels, increasing risks of flooding. Moreover, millions of people around the world, especially in regions like South America and Asia, would have difficulty accessing water.