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I have heard that the icecaps and such are not melting and instead they have doubled in size since the last two years. Is this true? I heard that it was sponsored and they basically lied to the public and if there is any chance for us to go into another ice age, it is higher now. But not in a very very very long time. Can you explain?
Question Date: 2015-08-04
Answer 1:

No, this is not true - ice caps are still shrinking in size around the world.

North America has had two very cold winters the past two years, but this is because the air that is normally over the North Pole is instead in Canada, with the result that Europe and Asia have had two very hot winters. Worldwide, last year was the warmest year in recorded history (which goes back about two hundred years).

Ice ages take about a hundred years to begin, and about a hundred years to end. This may seem slow to you as a human being, but when you think about how ice ages can last for a hundred thousand years, this suddenly seems very fast!

Answer 2:

The ice caps are really getting smaller, not larger. I saw pictures in Science magazine that show how much smaller the ice is at the North Pole, compared with several years ago. The polar bears are having to go onto land, because there isn't enough ice for them to live on.

It is confusing, though, because some years the climate doesn't get any hotter than the year before. Scientists are finding that there is extra heat, but it is going into the oceans, which are big enough to hold a LOT of heat, compared with the land.

The ice age idea comes from evidence about the cycles of the sun, such as sunspots. But the energy from the sun changes by only a tiny amount during these sunspot cycles. It was an exciting idea - that we might have an ice age soon - but it seems to be an idea that falls apart when more scientists look at it. Here's a website to look at:

mini ice age

Keep asking questions! You can search for answers on the internet at google.com, or you can look in Wikipedia.com on the internet - or in Simple English Wikipedia (simple.wikipedia.org). But sometimes you'll find wrong answers on the internet, too, so keep your mind open to new ideas and new answers.

Best wishes,

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