The Discovery of Rapid Climate Change

Spencer Weart, the Center for History of Physics at the American Institute of Physics

This article from the American Institute of Physics discusses the evolution of scientific views about global climate change. The history of this evolution gives a good example of the stepwise fashion in which science commonly proceeds, contrary to the familiar heroic myths of discoveries springing forth in an instant. The history also suggests why, as the NAS committee worried, most people still fail to realize just how badly the world's climate might misbehave.

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Subject: Geoscience:Atmospheric Science:Climatology
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16), College Lower (13-14), Graduate/Professional
Climate Literacy Principles: The Nature of Science, Complex Interactions:Ocean Circulation, Feedbacks
Topics: Human Dimensions/Resources, Climate
Theme: Teach the Earth:Incorporating Societal Issues:Climate Change, Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Atmospheric Science