Rapid Climate Change

Can Events Recorded in the Geological Record Help Predict the Future?

Some scientists predict that global climate is on the verge of a dramatic shift. These claims have caused concern as to the effects of very rapid climate cooling and warming. As it is known that the earth has undergone similar rapid climate oscillations many times in the past there is an increase in the number of studies on these geological records.

The most significant relatively recent major rapid climate change occurred shortly after the last deglaciation between about 11,000 and 10,000 years BP when climates rapidly fell and the northern hemisphere nearly entered a nedw glacial phase. This event is known as the YOUNGER DRYAS EVENT. Recent recent studies have shown the boundaries of this climatic oscillation may have been marked by nearly 10 degree celcius temperature fluctiations in less than 20 years. Recently only identified in Northern Europe it is now recognized to be a hemispheric or global event.

There are many ways in which climate change AFFECTS plants, animals and food. Each of these parameters are interconnected. By studying past paleoclimate and paleoceanographic oscillations such as the Younger Dryas Cold Episode - a much more dramatic event than the current climate change that we are supposed to be experiencing - we can assess the nature of the environmental changes that may be ocurring today.

For a list of references cited click here.

Comments, Questions...return to HVNHM