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Is Global Cooling on the Way?

If you think this summer has been unusually hot—and it has in some places—stick around a while. Some Chinese scholars suggest a long cold snap may be in our future.
The South China Post reports that Chinese Academy of Science’s Dr. Wu Jing of the Key Laboratory of Cenozoic Geology and Environment is the lead author
 on a paper soon to be published by the online Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres.
According to the Post’s story, the authors studied a part of Northern China for 12 years and concluded that winters in northern China may have been warming since 4,000 BC. Wu is quoted as saying, “Driving forces include the sun, the atmosphere, and its interaction with the ocean. We have detected no evidence of human influence.”
Which makes sense since virtually no one claims that human-caused carbon dioxide emissions had an impact thousands of years ago—or even hundreds of years ago.
There’s more: The authors point out that warming isn’t continuous. There are long cool spells, often lasting 250 years, which happen about every 500 years in the studied region.
The new study confirms a 2014 study published in the online journal Scientific Reports by a different team of Chinese scientists.
To be clear, Wu doesn’t deny the earth is warming; but it’s been doing so long before humans could have had any influence.
And the recognition that there are global cooling spells isn’t new.
The “Medieval Warm Period” lasted from about 900 to 1300 AD and was followed by the “Little Ice Age” from about 1500 to 1850.  As Britannica points out, that’s the period “when mountain glaciers expanded to their greatest extent …” In other words, many glaciers have recently been retreating from a peak they only reached a few hundred years ago.
So while human-caused carbon dioxide emissions could be exacerbating the warming trend, other factors, including the sun and the ocean, play a bigger role.
The scientists’ most intriguing finding is the possibility of another Little Ice Age.
Current climate models didn’t predict the 16-year-long warming hiatus that lasted from 1998 to 2013—which is one reason why their warming predictions have been so exaggerated. Nor are they predicting an approaching Little Ice Age, but it’s worth considering the possibility.
The Post quotes Wu, “A sharp drop of temperature will benefit nobody. The biggest problem is, we know it will come, but we don’t know exactly when.”