Climate Change and Sea Level – The Western Interior Seaway

My comment in today’s Times to Matt Ridley’s article seems to have sparked some debate. Here is the excellent National Geographic map of what the USA looked like during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods (broadly speaking 200 to 66 million years before present).

You can see that much of North America is under water – a direct consequence of higher sea levels due to warmer climates.

Climate Change

An interesting column by Matt Ridley in today’s Times.

Here is my little contribution to the debate:

“I am a scientist. What is more I am a climate scientist who studied under Professor Sir Nick Shackleton FRS for a PhD at Cambridge. One thing I can tell you is that the ONLY thing that is sure is that the Earth’s climate varies and always has.

For example, 100 million years ago (not long in the 4.5 thousand million year history of our planet) temperatures were at least 4 degrees C higher than today. There were no ice-caps and sea-levels were much higher than today. Much of the USA was under water, covered by an ocean known as the Western Interior Seaway. The dinosaurs thrived under these conditions.

We have as much chance of stopping man-made (that is to say, anthropogenic) or natural climate change as we have of walking naked to Mars. The answer is not to try and stop it but put in place measures by which we can survive it.

There are ways of doing this. Directed adaptation using our hard-won knowledge (by which I mean engineering, including biological engineering) is the only answer.”