MY AMERICAN SCIENTIST
LOG IN! REGISTER!
SEARCH
 
RSS
Logo IMG
HOME > PAST ISSUE > July-August 1999 > Article Detail

FEATURE ARTICLE

Rapid Climate Change

New evidence shows that earth's climate can change dramatically in only a decade. Could greenhouse gases flip that switch?

Kendrick Taylor

Figure 1. Although earth’s climate . . .Click to Enlarge Image

Much to the surprise of investigators, evidence is mounting that major changes in the earth's climate can take place in a very short time. Data from ice cores and ocean sediments suggest, for example, that 11,650 years ago the climate in Greenland switched from ice-age conditions to the current relatively warm conditions (a warming of 5 to 10 degrees Celsius on average) in only 40 years. The author describes the oceanic currents that influence climate and establish its stability, as well as "triggers" that may perturb changes—including the possibility that "greenhouse" warming could invoke a rapid switch.


 Go to Article

 

EMAIL TO A FRIEND :

Of Possible Interest

Feature Article: H.M.S. Beagle, 1820–1870

Essay: Invitation to an Insect Rendezvous

Sightings: Watching Earth Change

Subscribe to American Scientist