Abrupt Climate Change

One of the effects of climate change and global warming that concerns scientists today is the concept of abrupt climate change. Normally, significant changes that take place in the climate happen gradually over a long period of time—thousands of years. The climate does not always take this long to change, however, and when the changes occur in a matter of years to decades, this is an extremely fast rate. This chapter looks at what qualifies as abrupt climate change, evidence of past occurrences, and what triggers it. It then focuses on how the paleo evidence can be used to predict the future. Next, it examines the various warning signs associated with abrupt change and how likely it is that global warming could trigger a new episode. Finally, it clarifies various misconceptions that have been generated in the past concerning the topic.

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