Two new scary climate studies

November 9, 2008 at 4:15 am | Posted in Climate science research | 1 Comment
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Photo by Nick Russill, Flickr Creative Commons.

Photo by Nick Russill, Flickr Creative Commons.

People who are skeptical that global warming is something to worry about like to point out that the earth’s climate has gone through many warmings and coolings.  Hence, the term ‘ice age.’

Most scientists, however, agree that today’s climate change is different.  In the first place, it’s human-caused, brought on by increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels.  And, as far as we know, it’s happening faster than has occurred in the past. 

A new study from Cornell University gives further proof for this point.  As reported by Agence France-Presse, the study found that the current rate of warming is more dramatic than in any other period over the last 5,000 years.  

For the study, researchers looked at temperatures, oceanic circulation and changes in migration patterns, and then compared their findings to the paleoclimate record. 

Scientists are able to understand paleoclimate, dating back to millions of years ago, by studying ice cores, lake levels, and cave deposits, among other natural records. 

The Cornell research team found that the melting of Arctic ice has brought on significant shifts in the location of plants and animals in the North Atlantic.  Of particular note, the researchers found that microscopic algae have moved from the Pacific to the Atlantic for the first time in 800,000 years. 

By sending more freshwater into the Atlantic, melting Arctic ice can change ocean salinity and circulation, which can in turn alter habitats and species ranges. 

The study comes on the heels of a report that changes in climate are now being detected on every continent.  For that report, scientists at the University of East Anglia looked at climate data from dozens of weather stations in the Arctic and Antarctic, according to the Independent.  They then asked four different computer models to reproduce the observed data. 

The models were only able to do so if human impacts were included in the set of factors, enabling the scientists to draw a direct link between human activities and warming at both of the poles. 

So, climate scientists are clearly busy double-checking their work against both past records and models run on supercomputers.  What more will it take for more non-scientists to take climate change seriously?


1 Comment »

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  1. Please consider this climate change / energy quiz. The solutions to the quiz refer to a variety of data sources.

    Best Regards

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