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Author Topic: Is the current climate an optimum for Europe and North America?  (Read 2393 times)

Offline claes

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While the battle of whom to blame for ongoing and future climate change rages on, there is one strange fact that strikes me. It seems from all media reports that the current climate represents an optimum, in so far that any change in temperature, be it up or down, spells great discomfort if not disaster. Is this really so? It does seem strange that we have had such incredibly good luck. Or should you look at it the other way around: the fact that the climate in Europe and Northern America by chance has happened to be beneficial for a number of centuries has contributed to our political dominance during this period?


 

Offline Bored chemist

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Europe doesn't have a climate. It has lots, varying from sub tropical to Arctic.
The farmers know how to deal with the climate where they are located. If that changes, they are in trouble.
 

Offline graham.d

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As BC says, people have adapted to the climate over long periods so any change tends to be away from the optimum. Obvious examples are the low density of populations in arctic regions or deserts. No doubt these regions could support higher populations if the climate altered in a way to improve local conditions. If the climate changed gradually, over many centuries, no doubt people would adapt. Over a short period, however, any dramatic change have far reaching human consequences.

In past times humans, like any other species, have been subject to the effects of their environment. It is thought that at one time the human population was reduced down to a very small number of people living in a part of (what is now) the Africa. Many other species simply became extinct because of past climate changes. I, certainly, would like to think we can use our human intelligence to overcome such adversity and not be subject to the whims of nature. Should the Greenland ice melt (for example) there would be a 7 metre rise in sea level. This reduces the world's land mass and would be devastating to some regions. I don't think the effects could be contained politically. It would be a global problem with vast populations having to change a lifestyle and move. There is no way, unless the changes were very slow, that populations can adjust to this effect. 
 

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