EES 3310/5310

Climates of the Past

Class #13 (Wed., Feb 16)

PDF version


Required Reading (everyone):

Reading Notes:

  • The last hundred years: Focus on two things in particular:

    1. What is the evidence that the planet has warmed significantly in the last century?
    2. What is the evidence that human emissions of greenhouse gases are responsible?
  • The last thousand years: This gets into some very tricky and controversial material that was central to the infamous “climategate” scandal in 2009. I will not spend a huge amount of time on this, but I will attempt to explain in class what the controversy was about and why it isn’t nearly as big a deal as the media have made it out to be.

    Some things to understand about the past millennium are:

    • What is a proxy for ancient temperatures? What are examples of commonly used proxies?
    • What problems do scientists face trying to get past temperatures from proxies?
    • What were the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age? Roughly when did they happen? What are the big questions scientists have about them?