The next Ice Age could be delayed because of high levels of carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere.
The “big freeze”, which is due to start within 1,500 years, could be put off because levels of CO2 may insulate the planet from the growth of ice sheets and glaciers.
Writing in a paper published in Nature Geoscience, Cambridge University Scientists claim that even if carbon emissions stopped today, levels of the gases, which reached record heights in 2012, could linger for at least 1,000 years.
Dr Luke Skinner said: “At current levels of C02, even if emissions stopped now we’d probably have a long interglacial duration determined by whatever long-term processes could kick in and bring [atmospheric] C02 down.
“It’s an interesting philosophical discussion. Would we be better off in a warm world rather than a glaciation? Probably we would.”
An Ice Age is a period of long-term reduction in the earth’s atmospheric and surface temperature, leading to the growth of ice sheets and glaciers.
Being that the last Ice Age ended 11,600 years ago, it would appear we are already overdue our next big freeze.