The stronger the planet is covered with ice – the less solar radiation absorbs, and the more actively the icing process proceeds.
For all its history, our planet has been covered with ice several times. This is confirmed by glacial deposits from different eras. One of such deposits of the cryogenic period in Ethiopia was investigated by geologists from Princeton University.
In their article, scientists write that fragments of boulders that were brought to the region by glaciers are transferred to the ancient layers of carbonates – the “geological footprint” of the shallow microflora. Judging by the thickness of the layers, the transformation of the heavenly corner into icy wastelands occurred very quickly. It is impossible to name exact dates, but this could happen over a period of 1000 to 100,000 years.
Such a rapid conversion into “snowball” scientists explain by the fact that when icing increases the planet’s albedo – the ability to reflect the sun’s rays. The faster the surface is covered with ice – the less solar energy is absorbed by the Earth. Thus, the process is accelerated.
As it turned out, the ice age on our planet can start quite sharply. Of course, we do not face total icing in a couple of days, as they like to portray in sci-fi movies. But for a period of 1000 years, human civilization may not adapt to the new conditions.