Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2004 15:52:15 -0500 To: Andy Revkin <firstname.lastname@example.org> From: Athanasios Koutavas <email@example.com>
Even in the (unlikely) absence of a human impact on climate we would still need to worry about natural abrupt climate change. It's true that by comparison with the glacial world, the interglacial climate has been less "angry". But it has not been stable and it has not varied smoothly, and it can certainly wreak havoc in regions strained by overpopulation or by scarce food and water resources, typically found in the tropics and subtropics.
Very belated, and prompted in part by what seems an overly hyped Fortune magazine article on evidence for near-term abrupt change driven by warming, i'm actually going to commit journalism soon on the subject.
What I'd like to do is clarify what is known, unknown and perhaps unknowable as we look at the past (younger dryas etc), and ahead (fram
strait trends etc). My sense is that Wally B's notion that the 'angry beast' is a creature of colder eras but not of warmer times has some support. I'd like to get more familiar with the data and/or theory that supports that.
Also, separately, been intrigued by Richard Seager's analysis of importance of air flows instead of ocean flows in modulating European climate. Is that relevant to the abruptness question? This is also prompted by my focus on Arctic recently.
Any trenchant thoughts about these matters appreciated. could start with simple statement from you giving your feeling about whether evidence is building supporting the prospect for a warmer-world angry beast or whether it is eroding?