Climate Conversations S1E8: How Climate Puzzles of the Past Point us to the Future

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This week, the Climate Conversations team are joined by MIT’s Associate Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, David McGee.

We discuss the many climate changes that the Earth has experienced in the last half million years, our dependence upon climate stability and David’s role in Terrascope, a freshman learning community at MIT.

Additionally, David explains the many ways he and his team track historical changes in the Earth’s climate, including the measurement of tree and lake rings.

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Rick Shankman's picture

Wow guys (and Dr. McGee)...

Wow guys (and Dr. McGee)... Climate Conversations, Episode 8: MIT Terrascope - Climate Change Adaptation.

So much for discussions of the immorality of focus on adaptation at the expense of mitigation.  Just for good measure, the Freshmen will be tasked with designing adaptation solutions for MIT's Cambridge area.  Not sure Bangladesh has the funds to do much about it, so we'll take you (on Spring Break) to a Western country that does instead - The Netherlands.

Well, as Houston struggles... let's forget that and go to this podcast...

Dr. McGee, I humbly suggest that study of ancient lake shorelines and tree rings isn't going to provide meaningful insight into modern era coastal region erosion problems like those being experienced in Louisiana from the incursion of the fossil fuel industry.  Those topographical changes - the land itself disappearing from salt water intrusion into the marshlands resulting from digging and drilling activities - will not be reflected in climate modeling based on study of million years-long global warming and cooling cycles.

With regard to those paleoclimate records of warming/cooling cycles, you (collectively) neglected to mention the various MASS EXTINCTION EVENTS associated therewith.  That's what you get with the climate aftermath of cycle amplification events.

What Houston is swimming in now isn't related to the Earth's orbit oscillations, it's anthropogenic and unrelated to the previous half-million years of Earth's climate history.  When the resulting industrial HAZMAT contamination of those floodwaters is discovered, that problem will likewise be unrelated as well.

Ironically, this situation is no stranger to Bangladesh; as the Buriganga river is one of the most industrially-polluted rivers in the world, and Hazaribagh, Bangladesh is one of the most toxic cities on Earth.

Yep, better to take the kids to The Netherlands next Spring instead.