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Climate 360

All about climate change

Diagnosis of warming and its initial consequences

Abstract

Meteorological stations, tide gauges, floats drifting in the oceans and satellites are all used to monitor changes in the Earth’s climate… and show us that the Earth is warming. This warming is already having observable consequences – for instance, the melting of the Arctic ice pack and the retreat of most continental glaciers. Is this something new in our planet’s history? To answer that question, climatologists are examining all natural climate records in the environment: ice cores, cores of marine and lake sediments, rings in tree wood, coral reefs, grains of pollen and so on. Their conclusion is that different natural factors have increased the temperature of the Earth’s climate in the past. It was heavily warmed by a strong greenhouse effect in the Eocene epoch 60 million years ago and then in the Pliocene epoch about 3 million years ago. However, the kind of warming observed over the last thirty years has never happened before in the past 1,500 years, particularly given its global nature and initial impacts.


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