What Would Cause a Modern Day Ice Age?

Everyone likes a little snow right?  Keyword being: little.  Ice ages are far from fun.  They are treacherous and they are a sure thing. An ice age is a long period of time in which the average global temperature on Earth is low enough to cause creation, expansion and growth of continental and polar ice sheets to go rampant.  In an ice age, alpine glaciers will thrive. During an ice age, there are further spouts of frigid temperature, even beyond the already freezing global norms.  These brief “pulses” of extreme cold are often referred to as glacier periods (Imbrie, 1979).

There have been 5 ice ages throughout history, that we know of (there probably have been more but we have simply been unable to detect that far back and evidence may have eroded beyond a certain point in history).  Studying the past 5 ice ages reveals some of the treachery they have offered species and races of the past.  Some of the past ice ages were so severe, that glaciers were even able to form close to the equator.  Many unique species emerge during an ice age, usually more complex organisms with the ability to survive the frigid weather.  In fact, the last ice age is suggested, sometimes, to have been the cause of the evolutionary manifestation of human beings.  


The polar regions are always the coldest during an ice age (though this is true normally outside of an ice age true, they get especially freezing during an ice age); and the differences between the temperature at the equator and at the poles is quite significant.  The continental glaciers are so gigantic they will cover a lot of the Earth, if not most of the Earth…and in the most extreme ice ages…all of the Earth. Even the deep waters are extremely cold (Maasch, 1997).

What is it Like to Live Through an Ice Age?

The Earth always has a way to balance itself back out, and will eventually end an ice age on its own, however, it can take tens of thousands of years for an ice age to correct itself by building up enough greenhouse gases released during volcanoes.  It is not possible to wait around for the Earth to correct itself: if you have managed to survive the initial catastrophe causing the ice age, you must understand what it is like to live through an ice age to be able to prepare for it.

Ice ages are cold, during the last extremely cold cycle on Earth, the average global temperature was approximately 1-2 degrees Fahrenheit, though in many places temperatures were obviously far below 0.  These temperatures are survivable with the appropriate prepping ahead of time. Ice will be everywhere, continents will form made completely out of ice (the ice sheets previously mentioned).  It is never possible to determine ahead of time the new specifics, some predatory, which will emerge as a result of the extreme cold weather.   

It is not a matter of if an ice age will occur, but when, and if it will occur in your life time.

Is Another Ice Age Coming?

Many sources disagree with one another on the topic of the coming of the next ice age in the near future, near future being within the next 15 years.  Some sources say it is a far fetched myth (i.e. skepticalscience.com, earthsky.org)…other sources completely disagree (thinkprogress.org, sciencealert.com).  SurvivingTheAftermath.com understands though, that we are technically still IN an ice age right now.  That’s right: we’re not waiting on an ice age, we are already IN the most modern ice age.  What these sources are arguing about is whether there will be a noticeable arctic period in our lifetime that is considered life-threatening. Ice ages are notorious for their glacier periods, which create regular blasts of cold temperatures, and therefore, we absolutely are at risk for a noticeable arctic threat.

There are many theories of how another ice age is going to come, which most certainly sound both reasonable and credible.  Ice ages may be triggered from a number of events and combinations of climate and solar abnormalities.  Solar output and the distance between the Earth and the Sun, combined with the wrong positioning of the continents, all mix with the way the ocean has been moving (the way it has been circulating), and the condition of the environment and atmosphere, producing an ice age catastrophe.  Volcanic eruptions are capable of triggering an ice age.  If the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is not dense enough, the Earth will cool too fast and cause freezing arctic conditions.

The geometry of the oceans, water basins and continents, plays a gigantic role in the Earth’s natural cycle of forming long-term ice ages. Additionally, a small change in the ocean circulatory pattern is a very big deal.  If the continents move in the right way (the continents are always moving), they can re-route the flow of the ocean current and prevent warm water from reaching the cooler waters; this will cause the colder temperatures to spread without being warmed up, ultimately triggering frigid arctic weather.  The last severe ice age (which we are still in, as mentioned), is suspected to have formed as a result of the natural land bridge that formed between the Americas (Isthmus) (Maach, 1997). There are several smaller events which can trigger miniature global glacier and arctic bursts; such as the freezing temperatures of the 14th century, brought on by a complete freeze of the Baltic Sea, combined with the rising of the Caspian Sea.  This miniature “explosion of cold” ended all settlements in Greenland and rendered crop cultivation extinct in Iceland (Marsh, 2015).


While some will argue until they are blue in the face (pun intended) that there will be no noticeable ice age, global arctic weather conditions, or glacier periods, it is best to be prepared since you mostly only have to prepare for surviving cold weather one time.  We need to prepare for is the extreme cold weather which very well is possible.  Since we are technically in an ice age still, one worry is the natural “pulse” of cold weather, the glacier period; however, ice ages and extreme cold weather can form and end both slowly and abruptly.  Remember from our how to survive planet X or an asteroid impact post, that an asteroid impact causes an immediate impact winter, which immediately creates arctic conditions. 

Several researchers explain that the stable climate and weather we are seeing right now is what is known as an interglacial period, that is, a sustainable climate that lasts roughly 10,000 years in between ice ages.  It is well known that we are about 10,000 years from the last major glacial period.  This theory suggests we are due for an actual glacial period, an extremely frigid ice age, catastrophic in nature. During a full on ice age, all of Europe, Asia, and North America are absolutely at risk for being covered in extremely thick ice and snow.  Depending upon the severity of the ice age, the rest of the continents will suffer as well. 

One theory claims that by 2040, a “mini ice age” could result from a significant (60 percent or more) drop in solar magnetic activity.  The last mini ice age caused severely low temperature winters in northern regions for about 70 years.  This smaller ice age was called the Maunder Minimum and started in the 1640s.  Although considered a small ice age period, temperatures were still unbearable for most, of whom no one would have known to prepare.  The Maunder Minimum also showed an increase in significant sunspots.  According to one prominent researcher in the field of Astronomy, Professor Valentina Zharkova (2015), a new model of the Sun’s solar cycle has revealed with great precision an “11-year heartbeat.” The sun has two magnetic fields which, when properly recorded, provide a great deal of data about the current solar cycle. Basically, this “heartbeat” may suggest that the Sun will suffer increasing significant sunspots in the 2030-2040 decade range, triggering a ‘Maunder Minimum-style’ ice age. Even NASA has confirmed it is reasonable to predict a weakened solar cycle, weakest in 2022, which may contribute to a significant cooling of the Earth’s climate (Marsh, 2015).


Regardless, the emergence of an extreme 70 year winter in the middle of an otherwise steadily warm climate is unnerving to say the least and suggests another ice age or similar mini ice age event could occur at ANY moment!

Click here to learn How to Survive in Extreme Arctic Conditions (Surviving extreme cold weather).

Arctic Thermal Portable Tents Can Save Your Life in an Emergency

Here are some really great arctic shelters (tents that you can basically carry on your back in a bind), which we recommend on amazon:

High Peak Outdoors South Col Tent

ArcticShield Double Layer Ice Fishing Shelter with Floor


Imbrie, J & K.P., 1979. Ice Ages: Solving the Mystery. Enslow Publishers; Short Hills, NJ. ISBN 978-0-89490-015-0

Maasch, K., 1997. What Triggers Ice Ages? NOVA: Public Broadcasting Station (PBS). Retrieved from: http://pbs.org

Marsh, G., 2015. The Coming of a New Ice Age. Winnin Green. Retrieved from: http://winningreen.com

Tags: surviving extreme arctic conditions, how to survive arctic conditions, how to survive ice age like conditions, surviving an ice age, is it possible to survive an ice age, how to survive in extreme cold weather, is another ice age coming, what would trigger another ice age, will we have a modern ice age, is a modern ice age possible, are we really in an ice age

Add comment

Security code

Get Survivalist Tips & Deals

Other Emergency Prepping

Site Search