A new report from the National Research Council, Understanding the Earth’s Deep Past: Lessons for Our Climate Future, promotes the idea of an integrated, “deep-time” climate research program that compiles ancient geologic records to enable scientists to better understand how climate behaved during past warm periods and other major climate transitions. The intent is to explore the variability of the planet’s climate and to better understand the role of greenhouse gases during warmer climate periods.
The idea is for a much more integrated and collaborative observations-based research effort with climate modelers assigned to teams for visualization of and exploration of events. The research would be guided by how climate responds to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and it would clarify the processes that lead to warm polar and tropical regions. The intent also is to focus on the stability of sea level and ice sheets, changing regional climates, tipping points and abrupt transitions, and ecosystem thresholds and resilience in a warmer world.
Congress requested a series of reports to study America’s Climate Choices. The following short video outlines this effort to understand climate change, to review options to limit its magnitude, and to study ways to adapt to the impacts of global warming.