If you’ve read my Blog entry about climate change at
you may recall that scientists – real scientists – say that the earth has been in an”ice age” for several million years. In the last 350,000 years the earth has experienced 3 and a half cycles consisting of 3 “glacial maximums” – periods where the earth’s temperature has dropped very low and 4 “glacial minimums” (AKA “interglacials”) wherein the temperature became warm.
The glacial minimum we are currently in today has been characterized by rising temperatures that began at the end of the last glacial maximum about 20,000 years ago. The temperature of the earth today is still nearly 3 degrees COOLER than the average peak temperature for the previous 3 glacial minimums.
During the previous glacial minimum, about 125,000 years ago, enough ice had melted so that a thick layer of coral reef formed about 25 feet above today’s sea level. BTW, that could only happen if the sea level was 25 feet higher than it is today. That layer has been quarried for over 100 years to build municipal buildings in Miami. If you can track down one of those buildings today you can touch a coral reef that prospered 125,000 years ago. Even then, 125,000 years ago, the temperature had already peaked 3 degrees higher than today’s temperature and it was beginning to cool down.
That was the beginning of the glacial maximum between the glacial minimum I just described above and today’s glacial minimum that we are in today. That glacial maximum reached its lowest point about 20,000 years ago. By then enough water had been locked up in ice so that 17 million cubic miles of ice were sitting on the North American continent. The weight of that ice is estimated as 68,000 trillion tons. Almost all of that ice came from the ocean and so the sea level was about 470 feet lower than today. What we call “Florida” today had about three times as much land area as it does today and off the coast of Miami there is a dead coral reef 450 feet below today’s sea level. Keep all that information about Florida in mind the next time you hear that global climate warming change will cause flooded beach-side streets in Miami to submerge.
You may have heard of an event about a 1000 years ago called “the little ice age.” Keep in mind that although we are in a series of up and down temperature cycles, there are constant interruptions where temps go up during a cooling cycle and vice versa. In fact, the little ice age is dwarfed by an interruption in the current warming cycle about 12,000 years ago (a blink of the eye) when the earth’s temp dropped more than it did during the little ice age in less than 100 years and stayed that way for 1000 years.