Documenting the Coming Singularity

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Gonna get colder before it gets warmer

Daily Galaxy - 2.12.10 (by Casey Kazan with Rebecca Sato)

Evidence has mounted that global warming began in the last century and that humans are, at least in part, responsible. The concern is that the warming of our climate will greatly affect its habitability for many species, including humans. Both the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences concur that this is the case. But some argue that this thinking is too limited. They say that too many scientists are either ignoring, or don’t understand, the well-established fact that Earth’s climate has changed rapidly in the past and could change rapidly in the future—in either direction.

Evidence for abrupt climate change is readily found in ice cores taken from Greenland and Antarctica. One of the best known examples of such an event is the Younger Dryas cooling of about 12,000 years ago, named after the arctic wildflower found in northern European sediments. This event began and ended rather abruptly, and for its entire 1000 year duration the North Atlantic region was about 5°C colder. Could something like this happen again? It sure could, and because the changes can happen all within one decade—we might not even see it coming.

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