Abrupt Climate Change
June 1, 2004
Paleoclimate evidence from ice cores, tree rings, and other natural recorders reveals that large changes in climate such as in temperature and precipitation have happened in the past. The changes have occurred over decades to centuries, sometimes affecting small regions and sometimes entire hemispheres. The changes are massive compared to anything we have experienced since people have been keeping records of climate. What if these abrupt climate changes were to occur in the future? Would ecosystems be affected? How would humans adapt? These questions motivate a vigorous research effort to understand the changes of the past, and eventually to predict future abrupt climate change. More information can also be found at http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2004/s2236.htm
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