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Glaciers FAQs - 29 Found

How long can we expect the present Interglacial to last?

No one knows for sure. In the Devils Hole, Nevada, paleoclimate record, the last four interglacials lasted over ~20,000 years with the warmest portion being a relatively stable period of 10,000 to 15,000 years duration. This is consistent with what is seen in the Vostok ice core from Antarctica and several records of sea level high stands. These data suggest that an equally long duration should be inferred for the current interglacial period as well. Work in progress on Devils Hole data for the period 60,000 to 5,000 years ago indicates that current interglacial temperature conditions may have already persisted for 17,000 years. Other workers have suggested that the current interglacial might last tens of thousands of years.

Sources of Information:

Muhs, D.R., Simmons, K.R., and Steinke, B., 2002, Timing and warmth of the last interglacial period -- New U-series evidence from Hawaii and Bermuda and a new fossil compilation for North America: Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 21, p. 1355-1383.

Paillard, D., 2001, Glacial cycles -- Toward a new paradigm: Reviews of Geophysics, v. 39, p. 325-346.

Winograd, I.J., Landwehr, J.M., Ludwig, K.R., Coplen, T.B., and Riggs, A.C, 1997, Duration and structure of the past four interglaciations: Quaternary Research, v. 48, p. 141-154.

Tags: Global Change, Glaciers, Climate, Snow, Ice, Polar