Saw interesting theory on Science Channel recently that the trigger for Ice Ages is stopping the Gulf Stream flow. This is due to salinity concentration. Properly flowing Gulf Stream brings warmth to North Europe. The impact of global warming causes ice caps and snow cover in northern latitudes to melt, increasing the flow of fresh water into North Atlantic. This eventually chokes off the Gulf Stream flow, because it dilutes the salinity of water. There is a differential in the salinity between the Gulf Stream water and the surrounding water, and there is loss of heat in the Gulf Stream water by the time it has made its way to North Atlantic. The Gulf Stream water is more dense, so it then dives to the bottom of the Atlantic, and this action creates the current. Without the warmth of the Gulf Stream northern Europe and Greenland start to cool. Eventually, the ice caps grow, the snow cover in North Europe stays, more sun is reflected, Earth starts cooling spreading the effect to other areas not directly impacted by Gulf Stream. It takes much more climatic impetus to restart the Gulf Stream after it has stopped, so once it stops, Earth's done for a few hundred thousand years. According to the piece on Science Channel scientists measuring the flow have found that it is slowing.
If you plotted a timeline starting at the beginning of earth, the big bang, and the end of earth, the depletion of the sun's energy, and if you set a scale for that time period at 1000 miles, then the Oil Age will only last about as long as your most prolific woody you can remember...
Ponty: Scientific American had a good article on the subj. a few months ago. Have you read it? I think their conclusion was that there was more oil than we thought but the amount we can pump will soon start declining. Phy
....all of which might just lend credence to my supposition in an earlier post that the NEXT 150 years or so of measurement, following the current period in which we notice a perceptible increase in temperatures, might actually be the DOWNSIDE of the climatic heating/cooling cycle.
I can just see it now..... in the late 22nd century, politicians will be scrambling to find ways to open the ozone layer and to blanket the world with CO2. The new WORLD SPACE AGENCY will launch giant hyperbolic mirrors in geosynchronous orbit over each of the polar regions, concentrating the suns rays on the ice caps in hopes of melting them and sending the water through the newly created huge underground channels that will have been dug to the Great Salt Lake so the salinity of the water can be stablized!