The Icemen Cometh?
In the comments of my Eye of the Storm post, Roger wrote:
In general moderate warming is vastly preferable to moderate cooling
At the risk of being called a denialist, or just being called ignorant, which may be true as I have no expertise here…
As I understand things, the Earth is in an ice age, but we are in an interglacial period. These interglacials tend to last from 10-15000 years, and ours has been going on for around 10000 years. That means we could be as far from the start of the next glacial period as we are from the dawn of civilization–something like 400 generations–or it could be right around the corner even on a human time scale.
What role, if any, does this play in the discussion of AGW? Is the assumption that the next glacial period is so far out on the horizon that we need to deal with global warming first, then we can get around to dealing with a glacial period? Do we have any real sense of when the next glaciation is likely to begin, or are we stuck with uselessly (for policy purposes) wide error bars? How long would it take for a new glacial period to wreak total effing havoc on humanity? Surely long, long, before the glaciers reach Indianapolis again. Is glaciation a thing we should be worried about, or is its likely temporal distance sufficient reason to shrug it off? For those who dislike the idea of geo-engineering, would entering a glacial period be sufficient to overcome your qualms so that you could support geo-engineering to keep the earth warm enough to prevent another Wisconsin glacial lobe, as shown below?
All questions are asked under the assumption that the earth is currently warming and that some of that warming is human-caused. It would be awesome if all responses recognized that, and if all responses–even by skeptics–operated on that assumption for purposes of discussion.