Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 17 Issue 04

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Volume 17, No. 4
Pages 194 - 206


Abrupt Climate Changes: Oceans, Ice, and Us

Richard B. Alley
First Paragraph

Modern climate science indicates that rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and other effects of human activities will cause large climate changes requiring significant adaptation by human societies around the globe. Climate records and human history provide insight into the nature of climate change and the types of challenges a shifting environment will pose for humankind. The geologic record shows that climate sometimes changes abruptly, but this aspect of climate history has received relatively little attention in efforts to understand the consequences of future climate change. Although a major, potentially rapid change in climate is a daunting prospect, I am convinced that today’s students, if given sufficient training and financial support, will be able to address the climate challenges of the future.


Alley, R.B. 2004. The Roger Revelle Commemorative Lecture Series—Abrupt climate changes: Oceans, ice, and us. Oceanography 17(4):194–206, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2004.20.

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