Arguments For And Against The Early Anthropogenic Hypothesis

1768 WordsNov 3, 20148 Pages
11,700 years ago the geological epoch the Holocene was thought to of began following the Pleistocene epoch, together these time periods make up the Quaternary period. The Holocene has been described as being relatively warm and with a fairly stable climate. Not only this, but it is thought to coincide with the start of agriculture as human populations rose throughout the Holocene technology became more sophisticated aiding the rise of agriculture (Holden, 2012). The early anthropogenic hypothesis was published in 2003 by Professor W.F. Ruddiman, this was a three part hypothesis in which Ruddiman proposed humans reversed natural decreases in CO2 values within the atmosphere by deforestation. That they reversed natural methane decreases after 5,000 years by irrigating rice, they also caused a warming sufficient to prevent a new glaciation within the last several thousand years and during the Holocene (Ruddiman 2005). This hypothesis has attracted a lot of attention with many people both supporting it and criticising it. Throughout this essay I will be exploring the many arguments for and against the early anthropogenic hypothesis and stating whether or not human kind could have prevented the start of an ice age during the Holocene. One of the parts of Ruddimans three part early anthropogenic hypothesis focusses on the anomalous rise in methane after 5,000 years. By looking at the past three interglaciations methane levels should have fallen from ~700 ppb to a level such as

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