How humans are changing the climate | Letter

“Civilized humanity has never seen a climate as severe as global warming.”

“The Earth has the ability to look after its own climate, but only if we are prepared to wait a few hundred thousand years.” — University of Chicago climatologist David Archer, author of “The Long Thaw.”

It’s a long-term perspective on human-caused global warming and a short-term view that we talk about daily — an accessible read with a historical and scientific focus.

It looks back a century and forward a century, explaining the greenhouse effect. Archer also gives a forecast for the next century for temperatures, sea level rises, floods and storms. Then he turns to paleoclimatology and the reconstruction of past climates covering 400 millennia. How does what we are doing to the climate today compare to this history?

“Mankind is becoming a force in climate comparable to the orbital variations that drive glacial cycles.

“The global warming climate event is not unprecedented in Earth history. Climate changes through the glacial cycles were probably as severe as global warming has the potential to be. The Earth and the biosphere will survive.

“Viewed in the same time perspective, however, human civilization is totally unprecedented in Earth History. Civilized humanity has never seen a climate as severe as global warming.

“The climate of the Earth takes a few centuries to warm. If it warms by 3 degrees C by 2100, there could be another 2 Degrees C of warming in the pipeline.”

The IPPC Report suggests 2100 may see a 3 degrees C increase in temperature and about half a meter of sea level rise. But the paleoclimate comparisons suggest that such a temperature rise would match a 50 meter sea level — the difference is huge. How fast can the earth’s ice melt?

“Ultimately the future of Earth’s climate comes down to decisions about coal.”

C F. Baumgartner

Mercer Island

More in Letters to the Editor

Mercer Island should stop squeezing more out of taxpayers | Letter

We shouldn’t be comparing our city to other cities that are more profligate than us.

Vote no on levy lid lift | Letter

Until our city government demonstrates fiscal responsibility and accountability, please vote “no.”

Support for My-Linh Thai | Letter

We are writing to share our support for My-Linh Thai, 41st LD, Position No. 2.

Send a message with no vote on tax increase | Letter

A significant and increasing portion of my living expenses are taxes.

Stop vandalizing Mercerdale Park garden | Letter

We have witnessed the intentional cutting of mature native plants.

CCMIP response to Carol Friends’ Feb. 28 letter | Letter

CCMIP supporters have not only talked, they have acted, and will continue to protect the parks.

Vandals destroying Mercerdale Park garden | Letter

Twice some people have cut native plants to the ground, girdled native trees and pulled out new plants.

Sustainability Mercer Island, USA and Earth via Fusion | Letter

I am on the mailing list of Sustainability Mercer Island. We earthlings… Continue reading

Mercer Island Council should consider levy to fund MIYFS counseling | Letter

The Mercer Island School Board approved the following letter on March 22… Continue reading

Art reminds us what is possible within us | Letter

Some in our community have been discussing art. The thing about art… Continue reading

City should add retaining environment to Comprehensive Plan | Letter

Native habitat, wildlife “left out of the city’s Comprehensive Plan.”

Story should include MICA’s commitment to weighing other sites | Letter

“Mercerdale Park is ‘off the table’ as a site for the ‘foreseeable’ future.”