Using results from models of the atmosphere/ocean/sediment carbon cycle, the impacts of fossil-fuel CO2 release will be examined - including the effect on climate many thousands of years into the future, rather than for just a few centuries as commonly claimed.
Prof. Archer will show how aspects of the Earth system, such as the melting of the great ice sheets, the thawing of permafrost, and the release of methane from deposits in the deep ocean, take thousands of years to respond to a change in climate.
The duration of our potential climate adventure is comparable to the pacing of climate changes in the past, which enables us to use the geologic record of past climate changes to predict the trajectory of global warming into the deep future. In particular, the record of sea level variations in the past suggests that the ultimate sea level response to fossil fuel CO2 use could be 10 to 100 times higher than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) forecast for the year 2100.
About the Speaker:
David Archer has been a professor in the Department of Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago since 1993 and has published scientific papers on a wide range of topics regarding the global carbon cycle and its relation to global climate. He currently teaches classes on global warming, environmental chemistry and geochemistry. His undergraduate text, Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast, was recently published, and he is currently working on another book entitled From Here to Eternity: Global Warming in Geologic Time. He is a regular contributor to the global warming websites like realclimate.org.
Perimeter Institute is an independent, non-profit research centre where international scientists are clustering to push the limits of our understanding of physical laws by contemplating and calculating new ideas about the very essence of space, time, matter and information. The Institute, located in Waterloo just outside Toronto, also provides a wide array of educational outreach activities for students, teachers and the general public across Canada and beyond in order to share the joys of creative inquiry, research, discovery and innovation. Additional information available at www.perimeterinstitute.ca.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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