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Posted Mon Aug 30 2010: from University of Copenhagen, via EurekAlert:
Dramatic climate change is unpredictable
By analysing the ice cores that are drilled through the more than three kilometer thick ice sheet in Greenland, scientists can obtain information about the temperature and climate going back around 140,000 years. The most pronounced climate shifts besides the end of the ice age is a series of climate changes during the ice age where the temperature suddenly rose 10-15 degrees in less than 10 years. The climate change lasted perhaps 1000 years, then - bang - the temperature fell drastically and the climate changed again.... "We have made a theoretical modelling of two different scenarios that might trigger climate change. We wanted to investigate if it could be determined whether there was an external factor which caused the climate change or whether the shift was due to an accumulation of small, chaotic fluctuations", explains Peter Ditlevsen, a climate researcher at the Niels Bohr Institute. He explains that in one scenario the climate is like a seesaw that has tipped to one side. If sufficient weight is placed on the other side the seesaw will tip - the climate will change from one state to another. This could be, for example, an increase in the atmospheric content of CO2 triggering a shift in the climate.... [I]t was the chaos-dynamical fluctuations that were the triggering cause of the dramatic climate changes during the ice age. This means that they are very difficult to predict.
[Read more stories about: tipping point, short-term thinking, geoengineering, death spiral, climate impacts]

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'Doc Jim says:
If I can't predict it, how can I control it?

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