Back to main page.

INTERGLACIAL END – BACK TO THE ICE AGE.

  1. Interglacial end – gradient reversal and the first rapid cooling event.


         As it has been mentioned before, two thermal trends happen at the end of an interglacial (which is also the time we live in now), not just one as it is widely perceived and advocated. Over the whole length of the period of the interglacial there is a warming trend associated with the thermal transfer of the heat surplus agglomerated at the lower latitudes to higher latitudes and that mainly happens through the heat transfer via warm ocean currents and warm westerly winds blowing from the Hadley cell to north. There is also the cooling process, though, associated with the diminishing solar forcing at the higher latitudes of the northern hemisphere. The effect of these two processes is increasing dynamic temperature difference between the northern oceans and the northern lands - the temperature gradient. The attention of both academia as well as the media is now focused only on the process of warming while the cooling being usually averaged with the warming (when the warming trend prevails over the cooling the averaged numbers will indicate there is a warming), is allowed to pass unnoticed. There are some areas on the contemporary globe like Siberia on the northern hemisphere and large parts of Antarctic continent on the southern one that currently undergo monumental cooling trends.  These facts are generally deemed to be either unimportant or, as being politically inconvenient, deliberately ignored.

       Today, as the end of our interglacial is nearing both warming as well as cooling processes are accelerating simultaneously. The high positive gradient, characteristic to the interglacial climate diminishes as the northern lands become colder in respect to warming waters of the northern oceans. The new gradient reversal, when the northern oceans become warmer than the adjacent lands, is imminent. The consequence of this will be the radical cooling of the northern hemisphere.

         Gradient reversals neither immediately bring the beginning of an interglacial on the one hand nor immediately spur the onset of the ice age on the other. They just build the atmospheric conditions that will eventually bring about the dynamic reconfiguration of the atmospheric circulatory pattern culminating as the abrupt interglacial start resulting in similar to present climatic conditions in one scenario or the demise of an interglacial with characteristic climatic instabilities of sudden cooling events interlacing with temporary returns to warmer conditions in the other. The Younger Dryas, the Holocene’s false start, is an excellent example of the initial gradient reversal being not strong enough to ensure the complete merge of the dual polar vortices into a single one. Another 1400 years were needed for the lands to warm up to make the gradient strong enough to assure the irreversibility of the reappearing interglacial. Once the polar vortices have been merged, though, the interglacial kept thriving. It is ongoing since then but the temperature curve of the solar forcing keeps dropping down. The reason the interglacial temperature does not follow it is the steady positive gradient which will not reverse until the lands become colder than oceans. Until then, as the lands stay warmer than the oceans, the summer-like circulation prevails and the climatic pattern will not change. The deceptive secret of an interglacial is, though, that even if its temperatures seem to be stable, the time bomb of eventual cooling explosion caused by the diminishing positive gradient is ticking. The land masses do cool down. They cool down currently – it is confirmed by taking temperature measurements in caves of the world, the environment being quite well insulated from the surface “temperature noises”.  

        While the North Pole flirts with melting temperatures, Siberia is shivering in off-the-charts cold. The Siberian cold, up to 60 degrees below normal, has persisted for weeks. On Nov. 15 (2015) it manifested itself in more than 12 cities registering temperatures to minus-40 degrees or colder, the Weather Channel said.

The Weather Channel described the stunning side-by-side extremes as “one of the most bizarre juxtapositions seen”
.  

      The reports like this one, full of astonishment, continue to appear in the popular media. Their surprise is caused by the lack of the awareness of the gradient very existence and its influence over the climatic changes.  The Weather Channel seems to be completely taken by surprise by realizing both heating as well as cooling trends currently undergo in the far north.  In fact, the situation observed by the Weather Channel is far from being bizarre. It is actually quite representative for the current atmospheric re-configurations. The main consequence of reversing temperature gradient in high latitudes will be the gain of the high pressure systems over the low pressure ones over the northern lands. High pressure systems will prevail over the lands in high latitudes and that means cold.  Rapid cooling events will result in steady drop of temperatures that will happen when the clash of the warm southern westerly winds and the ever expanding cold air meet. As mentioned before,  the gradient reversal although not bringing the full blown ice age can bring various climatic instabilities characterized by their fast appearance as well as dynamic, accelerating development. The annual change from winter to summer and vice versa is an example. In the far north this change is specifically well set. The spring arrival is usually quite sudden. Also the first winter attack is usually happening as a sudden end of relatively warm weather period. If the annual, small scale, gradient changes bring so profound weather phenomena like semi-annual winter and summer seasons, so different climatically (Chicago, for example, can sweat in 100 degrees heat in the summertime and freeze in -40 degrees in winter within only 6 months interval) then the average, long term gradient changes can bring hundreds times more profound repercussions for many thousands of years ahead.

      When the lands eventually become colder than seas then the gradient will reverse.  The biggest problem of contemporary climatic analysis is that all the data are of the global temperatures are averaged across the oceans and lands. We hear it every day - “This year’s global temperature was one degree warmer than last year’s”. It means the information carries no distinction between the oceans and lands temperatures. “Global temperature” means all the measurements are being  thrown into one bucket, then stirred up there, divided by the number of reading points and – voila!, here comes the science! How do the temperatures of the lands change in respect to those of the oceans?  Who cares! We have a global temperature increase, global warming confirmed – job done!

Here is the nature of the ice age onset in the absolute essence: when the lands of the northern hemisphere become colder than the oceans of similar latitudes then the glacial, winter-type atmospheric circulation starts to prevail in this region.

As of now, though, the benign climate of the interglacial, the period we currently live in, is the consequence of the fact that the temperature of the northern lands is prevailingly higher than the temperature of the northern oceans. Since the beginning of an interglacial, though, there is an obscure, continuous process in the result of which the temperature of the northern oceans gradually approaches and then exceeds the temperature of the northern lands and this trend eventually leads to the return of the ice age.

If such situation happens we say the GRADIENT of temperature between the cooling and warming entities is in reverse.  And as the temperature gradient is a vector the new direction of this vector will not be making the future Earth’s climate any warmer. On the contrary; it will make it colder, much colder.  This is the leading thought behind this work. And that is why the name of this web site is www.iceagegradient.com

       What is then the nature of the rapid cooling event - the first manifestation of the approaching ice age?  As the major temperature and humidity gradient of the cooling, dry northern lands and the warming northern oceans and the lands of the south latitudes is growing rapidly in the maturity time of an interglacial the clashing cool and warm air masses will form a very robust polar front – the interface fashioned of very strong laminar winds blowing with the speed proportional to the strength of the temperature and humidity gradients. Such a strong polar front will successfully prevent those masses from permeating each other so it would seem the situation could be actually maintaining the interglacial status quo. The very strong mutual pressure of both air masses, though, not moving at the same level (the blowing south cold air is amassed at the lower altitudes, the blowing north warm air raises to the higher altitudes) turns the polar front to become a pivoting lever. The first symptoms of such behavior of the polar front become evident in phenomena happening even in the presence like sudden stratospheric warming, for example, and as the forcing of the air masses increases it will keep tilting the polar front even stronger in future.  At some point the clashing masses pressing so hard one against another will make, in an instant, the interface to tilt to the limit - the front will become nearly horizontal and the two, now unconstrained, air masses will flow freely each in its own direction. That will unleash the cold polar air to spread over the continents deep down south and the southern, warm and humid air to burst both north and up to high altitudes sliding over now gentle slope of the cold air mass. As it will cool down, rising quickly, its humidity will condensate turning to snow and ice promptly.  It is quite typical for a cold front mechanism with the exception of being a large scale event.  The sun’s heat will be absorbed by the top air layer so that the cooler air below will stay cold being insulated from heat and that in turn will prevent the land below the latter from any further warming as well. Tilted polar front will cover a lot of area below (Fig. 4A1) and the snow will fall everywhere even in the late spring and the early fall.

      Years with very short and cold summers will become a standard. This all is to happen in the short run. In the longer time frame the gliding of the warm, humid air over now vast polar front will result in both extended in time as well as very heavy snow falls. There will be no chance for that snow to melt over the course of the year. From that point on the amount of falling snow and  ice will increase exponentially. The glacial process will progress quickly. In fact, most of the glacial plates have been built within the first 7-8 thousand of years of every new ice age. Once it is done the level of the sea drops 300ft and the air over the lands is completely deprived of humidity. For another one ninety thousand years the Earth will become a different world:  two permanent stratospheric polar vortices will hover over the glacial plates. Strong anticyclones will develop over each glacial plate. The high pressure will push any humid air away from the continents. As the Hadley cell will expand north approaching the polar front, the polar jet stream will expand to a mega-size torus with superfast winds swirling within. Unlike the interglacial time Hadley cell, warm and humid, it will now be a very cold and dry one.  In the dead of the ice age the rain forest will be almost completely nonexistent in Africa, nearly nonexistent in South America, only on the south-east Asian islands, the world’s furnace, the jungle will survive on larger areas. Over the time of the ice age the whole world is generally cold but it is not even the cold that makes its climate very hostile. It is the dryness of the air and the aridity of lands that makes it a hardly habitable planet. The rivers are dwarfed, the lakes dried, the level of the oceans is low. The air is deprived of any water form and most of the storms are the dust storms. The sun is hardly visible over the day and the sky has milky color. Visibility over the lands not covered by ice is low. The dust is everywhere. Existence in not air conditioned areas would not be probably possible for the unaccustomed for that situation contemporary people. The delicate, sensitive human lungs would probably not survive in it for long.

  1. Younger Dryas – failed gradient reversal.

        An interglacial does not start as soon as the gradient is reversed. The nature needs some preparation time for that event to finally happen. Just before the glacial maximum the temperatures of both the northern land masses as well as the northern oceans dropped to such low levels that both were almost equally cold. Then an increasing solar forcing (Milankovitch) cycle arrived and being of the lower heat capacity lands warmed faster than the oceans did. As a consequence the gradient did reverse. Due to the warmer continents and colder oceans situation the summer-specific air circulation started to prevail. The continents continued to become warmer and more humid. The cold and the drought gradually eased up.

     The Holocene started the same way as the Eemian one and other interglacials but no sooner than the air circulation reconfiguration commenced the interglacial slipped back into the ice age. Then, after around 1400 years it started again and that time the breakout from the ice age was successful.  

     The false start of the Holocene is the best example of the consequences of the insufficient strength of the gradient reversal. Gradient did reverse at the glacial maximum, the lands did warm up so it kept increasing extremely fast in the beginning but the sun of the weak solar cycle failed to warm up the lands enough to secure all the conditions necessary for an interglacial to get fully established. The increasing solar forcing cycle turned out to be too weak to endow the lands with sufficient amount of energy to make the lands warmer enough than the North Pole areas. As the result, the re-merging of the split polar vortices did not hold on. The unification failed - the polar vortices went apart again and moved back to the spots over the glacier plates being still colder than the North Pole. The reason it happened was obviously the weak solar forcing cycle. Let us then compare two solar forcing cycles – the one that produced the Eemian interglacial with the one that prompted the Holocene (Fig. 4B2). We can see that the Eemian interglacial solar forcing cycle delivered much more heat energy to the lands than the Holocene’s one did.  

         As mentioned before, it took another 1400 years for that weak cycle to make up for the heat deficiency and after that time, due to continuously warming lands, the gradient finally became so strong the interglacial got fully established. The single polar vortex re-formed, settled over the North Pole and the air circulation became summer-specific producing the full interglacial climate conditions.

          Inevitably, the second, re-energized start of the Holocene had to produce a stronger and better balanced interglacial. After almost 12 thousand years the positive gradient still stands, especially that the cycle as much as being weak at its start also does not drop as fast as the Eemian one did. The question is: would that moderate insolation drop really prolong the Holocene much? It is something we should not count on too heavily. Over the whole Holocene length the discrepancy between its relatively steady temperature and the diminishing solar forcing has been growing (Fig. 4B3).

    The “scissors” keep opening wide now.  It is an unprecedented situation. In no other interglacial such a spread has been observed. It is one of the widest stretches in the paleohistory of interglacial periods. It is quite possible that when the temperature begins to fall it will eventually collapse in a very radical, untamed way and the consequences might be cataclysmic.

  1. The spots of the glacial onset – the locations of the primary temperature gradient reversal do not have to be located at the high latitudes.

        The risk of a rapid cooling event being extremely painful even for the inhabitants of lower latitudes is high as its origins do not have to be really far north as it is instinctively presumed. It is generally assumed any long-term cooling must spread from the North Pole area or at least from a very high north and therefore its repercussions do not have to be felt immediately in widely populated areas down south as it will take some time until the cooling climate change will make any impact on them. Unfortunately, it does not have to be like that at all. The territorial origins of the first cooling events need not to evolve far north.  Otherwise, they may start even well outside the polar circle. It all depends where the strongest local gradients would form. So far, because of a great scale of the one-hundred thousand year oscillation, only major, quite general gradients have been discussed. It has to be remembered, though, that there are also many local gradients which might influence the climatic changes especially in the sensitive times like the interglacial end. Those gradients can play the role of a scale needle, become seeds of the small scale glaciations paving the way to and eventually open the gate for the massive outburst of the ice age. The strongest local gradients that are actually building now are rather far from the North Pole. On the Siberian side it is the Yamal and Taymyr peninsulas with relatively warm at the end of interglacial adjacent seas of Barents, Laptev and Kara which will in some time may become the starting point for the Siberian glacial plates, In Europe it is the gradient of the North Scandinavian peninsula and the warm Barents sea as well as the now cooling Scotland with surrounding it warm waters of North Sea and North Atlantic so the rapid cooling might one day start in the Great Britain as well. In the North America, it is the spot protruding to the south the furthest, the Ungava peninsula, the place well outside the Arctic Circle which has been already confirmed as the place on which the previous glacial period started   – the place of the origin of the monumental Laurentide glacial sheet.

   The area of Ungava peninsula (northern tip of the Labrador) is the best example of how susceptible a place can be for the temperature gradient changes and how the glacial conditions could prevail if certain atmospheric circulation can develop and settle as the climate pattern. The snow melts on Ungava because the average temperature in the summer months is around of 50F. The average temperatures in other months of a year are below freezing or so little above it they do not assure the reasonable snow melting. Interestingly, the summer temperatures there can occasionally reach 100F but it also can dip below or close to freezing in each of the summer month. It tells us how volatile the climate pattern is there and how sensitive it may be for even the smallest change in the atmospheric conditions. At the end of an interglacial there are two fast changing conditions, though. On the one hand it is the cooling of lands (falling solar forcing, Milankovitch), on the other, it is the warming of the northern waters. It is also true in case of Ungava but the situation there is even more distinctive through additional climatic circumstances. On the cooling side: the whole Labrador is a solid rock so it cools fast when it is not sufficiently warmed by the sun. It is also radically cooled by the cold Labrador Current flowing along its east coast. On the gradient side: the northern tip of Ungava is adjacent to warming waters of the Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait and Ungava Bay. All these waters are way warmer than those passing in the Labrador Current and these waters do not mix. That gives us the picture of one of the strongest temperature gradients in the making. No wonder that in the future it will probably again be the first spot in North America where the glacial of the new ice age will start to grow! Before it happens, though, as this place will become the area of the permanent winter-specific atmospheric circulation first – it will become a center of the major average annual temperature drop – the rapid cooling event.  This event will have immediate effect on the continental cooling, especially affecting Eastern Canada and the Atlantic coast states of the USA.

  1. Atmospheric, not marine origins of the one-hundred thousand year oscillation

      Rapid, almost instantaneous onset of the interglacial strongly supports the assumption it is primary dependent on the aerial, not marine or glacial changes which are only secondary to it.  It is the atmospheric circulation that changes and the marine and surface ones follow. The air circulation pattern starts to resemble that of today as soon as the interglacial starts. As it happens all the glaciers are almost still intact. As the interglacial evolves almost momentarily there is no time for any ice plate collapsing or the oceanic circulation re-shaping. The air circulation rapidly assumes the regular interglacial oscillation pattern even when all the glaciers below are only slightly melted and the oceanic stream circulation reflects the glacier plates shape. The process of their relatively fast melting just starts at that point. The polar vortices re-merge into one (that’s what the start of interglacial is really about) means the retreat of the polar front by thousands of miles up north. It also results in the sudden shrinking of the Hadley cell and the reappearance of westerly winds carrying heat and moisture north. The westerlies clash with cold anticyclones that still exist over the glacial plates distinctively weakening their strength. They will not be able to fully overcome the glacial anticyclones right away - it will take six thousand years to thaw the glacial plates of both hemispheres. What the new circulation can do, though, is to accelerate the demise of glaciers radically. The current ocean stream paths will form after the interglacial characteristic air circulation pattern will be formed. This absolutely does not mean that the air circulation is not affected by the changes of global water and ice characteristics. What is assumed here it is that the rapid changes of climate, (although in the longer time shaped by all the elements of the earth’s physics) are primarily started by the quick reformation of the air flow patterns. As both ice and water modify the atmospheric conditions, the radical changes in climate result from the changes of the air circulation first. The other, thermohaline and glacial factors, follow the suit later giving the feedback to the atmosphere, shaping and preparing it for the next marginal change but only in the longer time. The same situation pertains to the onset of the glacial period: in its initial phase of the first rapid cooling event it is purely aerial phenomenon. As the marine currents definitely have their role in bringing huge amount of heat to seas in high latitudes (resulting in warming up the northern oceans including the arctic one) the fast climatic changes have their origin in the fast atmosphere conditions and circulation changes as the events procuring all other changes to follow. Therefore, the the stories of rapid climatic changes allegedly caused by equally rapid changes of thermohaline circulation - near-mythical sudden ocean level changes caused by spectacular ice plate collapses and so called rafting events are just, indeed, very suggestive but ultimately untrue. Although some reports have been made of the alleged sudden increase of the ocean level before the end of the Eem interglacial those reports are both unconfirmed as well as unsupported by other concurrent reports. Both sudden changes of the beginning and the end of interglacial are primarily of the atmospheric in nature.

  1. Gradual elimination of summer as a major characteristic of developing ice age.

            All three, just described, postulates of the proposed theory lead to the picture with the demise of the summer as a season despite of the intensive solar forcing of the polar day. The ice age onset is based on the elimination of this season as the phenomenon which as of now keeps the far north from the excessive ice accumulation. The northern summer, although short, can be very intensive – the temperature in Fort Yukon, Alaska (66N latitude) can reach 80 deg. (100 deg record). 20 hours of sunshine a day delivers big amounts of energy.  But this is not only the sun that produces the effect. It is also the warm and wet air that can reach those latitudes in summer as the result of the summer specific atmospheric circulation. For that kind of air to reach high latitudes the summer specific circulation is vital. The condition is: the lands must be warmer than the oceans. The low pressure systems over the lands are needed to bring humid air from the oceans. If at the certain point the lands become so cold the summer sunshine cannot warm them up over the threshold limit the summer will get shorter and the ice will not be able to be melted. As the summer in the North will gradually become shorter the air circulation will not reverse and the wave of cold may start to flow south. The practical consequence is the rapid cooling event. The late Eemian interglacial has been frequented with the rapid cooling events. The first happened at the end of the 118th millennium as dated back from the contemporary time. As the Eem interglacial started by the beginning of the 129 millennium the simple subtraction tells us the time from the sudden beginning of the interglacial to the first rapid cooling marking the beginning of its demise was not much longer than 11,500 years. This is very meaningful number when we compare it with the age of the Holocene interglacial which started 11,744 years ago.

    When can we expect the first cooling event to arrive then? The answer is simple. As the gradient reversal is happening now in front of our eyes (even if some of our eyes may not see it) we can expect the first blow of painful cold in any April or May. If that late spring arrival does not happen we may see an early winter arrival in October or even in September. I do not mean just one year anomaly – I mean the regular perennial pattern happening afterwards. A year without summer happened at least once in the history of modern time. It was the summer of 1816 the year within the global temperature drop called a little ice age, more precisely in its third phase that coincided with the low sun activity called the Dalton minimum. The cold was attributed to the 1815 volcanic eruption of Mt. Tambora as the consequence of the obstruction of the sun rays due to the volcanic aerosol dispersed in the atmosphere. Most probably, though, the lagging cooling of the phase one of the mini ice age caused by the Maunder minimum sun activity, the low sun activity of the Dalton minimum and the Mt. Tambora repercussions – all three factors agglomerated in this ominous year causing all those tragic repercussions. One thing is very meaningful: the global temperatures decreased by only 0.4 to 0.7 degree Fahrenheit. That means even small reduction of solar forcing could lead to very profound energy deficiency which is always there outside the 45N latitude both north and south is in fact a very thin balancing act extremely easy to overturn. Can we have the year without summer now even without the volcanic eruption and solar activity minimum? Not only we can have it but we will have it and, unfortunately, rather soon.

      The year without summer happens even now and it is in Greenland. Due to the glacial presence, its sun rays reflecting albedo and the huge high pressure system (cyclone) repelling the warm, humid air influx keeps the island like in the thermos bottle. The ice is melting only at the coasts but the center is immune to the intense solar forcing of the June-July-August period. After the series of the sudden cooling events and the expansion of the new glaciers the summer will disappear from the northern lands as the regular season for a very long time.

  1. The hundred-thousand year climatic oscillation as a monsoon type air circulation system.

              There is quite distinctive evidence based on the temperature gradient variations that indicates the hundred-thousand year climatic oscillation is in fact of the monsoon type nature. In other words the hundred-thousand year oscillation may be in fact a one, monumental, long-term monsoon. The similarities are sometimes striking. The rapid start of the monsoon’s “rain season” can be compared to a fast start of an interglacial. The slow, gradual demise and much smoother return to the “dry season” can be compared to the slow onset of a colder and dry, glacial period. As in case of the typical monsoon which is definitely caused by the reversing gradient of land vs. sea temperatures, also the hundred-thousand year oscillation proceeds through a similar pattern also in between of the gradient reversal points. The major feature of the gigantic monsoon in interglacial is the permanent return of westerly winds. The major feature in the glacial “dry season” is the disappearance of westerlies which on the lands are substituted by two monumental anticyclones of high pressure over the now cold land masses. This pattern is very much in-line with some types of higher latitude monsoons. Indeed, calling the hundred-thousand year oscillation a grand monsoon is not out of the reasonable base. As mentioned, as much as the beginning of both a monsoon as well as the first breakout of the interglacial are momentary, in the same way the end of both phenomena bear strikingly close resemblance: the Indian monsoon end is marked by intermittent rainy and sunny few day long intervals. There is no less rain in a particular day of the monsoon ending period. Groups of rainy days simply intertwine with groups of the completely sunny days. The same pattern is confirmed to happen at the end of the interglacial: cooling periods separated with periods of warmth. The general curve of heat, though, will go down which means that each subsequent warm period will not be as long as the preceding, cooling one.

  1. Human race in one-hundred thousand year oscillation.

       It is very interesting how the development of the human race has been always dependent on the events of the hundred-thousand year oscillation, especially in the turning moments of both glacial as well as interglacial periods. Let’ s go back to temperature curve of the last two ice ages and last two interglacial marking the milestones of the early human race on such a timeline.
       The timeline of the contemporary human race goes back to roughly 140,000 years to Africa somewhere in today’s Tanzania. It was the time of the glacial maximum, around 10 thousand years before the beginning of the Eem interglacial. Just like before the Holocene, the Earth was a cold desert with omnipresent dust in the air.  In this extremely hostile environment the Homo sapiens faced complete extinction. At some point the count of human heads went down to as few as six hundreds altogether.  They survived somehow and one female of that small surviving group gave the beginning of the genetic line as the “mitochondrial Eve”. All the people of today’s world are descendants of that woman.  The Eemian interglacial started then and it saved all humans from an inevitable peril, the species of homo could rebuild to some extent.  We do not know if the people of Eem managed to develop any kind of rudimentary civilization. It is too late now to find out. They probably did not; there were still too few individuals for such a social-based phenomenon to appear. The total number of all the homo species most probably did not exceed a few thousand. Nevertheless, the people did make one attempt to leave Africa in the Eem. One group managed to get to Arabian Peninsula but the returning ice age either made them to come back or they simply died out.

       Almost as soon as the glacial period returned one of the homo species – Homo erectus lost the battle and vanished. Then, as the living conditions deteriorated further the number humans started to dwindle again. Seventy thousand years ago the Homo sapiens faced its own demise again. Some claim it was the result of the Toba volcanic eruption, some mention one of the Milankovitch cycle rapid downturn dropping temperatures to almost glacial minimum - whatever caused the miserable condition the number of the Homo sapiens dwindled to less than 2 thousand reproductive pairs. The “Y-chromosome Adam” was the member of the group. Thanks to both the mitochondrial Eve and the Y-chromosome Adam two men from both ends of the world today are more genetically similar than two bands of chimpanzees in the African jungle. As the most recent glacial epoch approached its harshest time – the glacial maximum, the second homo species was terminated. The Neanderthal man could not cope with cold and dust anymore and went out of the picture. The Homo sapiens was luckier – it managed to withstand long enough to meet the beginning of the Holocene. The small population of only about 10 thousand made it. No sooner than the main glaciers disappeared the vigorous spread of civilizations all over the earth started. The number of people multiplied from not more than 10 thousand individuals only twelve thousand years ago to 7 billion today. The situation, though, is as serious as it was twelve thousand years ago. By that time the small number of people made it an endangered species. Twelve thousand later it is otherwise – it is that huge number of people that makes the human race to be similarly vulnerable as that small group was long time ago. Just as Homo erectus collapsed in the beginning of the ice age the Homo sapiens can have problems to survive the first perturbations of the same introductory phase of the new ice age.  The nature of the problem is different -12 thousand years ago it was the under population , cold and lack of food,  tomorrow it will be too many people, cold and lack of food but the seriousness of the problem is the same.

       The mankind, just getting out of the civilization cradle is about to face a monumental challenge of its survival. Not unprecedented one, though. Is the new ice age going to be a huge, radical brake for the civilization development or rather a stimulus to overcome the future difficulties? Human race has already showed it is able to face extreme adversities. It has been successfully coming out of many disasters, famines, plagues, wars, deluges, draughts, etc. It is true the new hurdle will be of monumental proportions but it does not mean it will be altogether conclusive.