Ancient Ice Core

Living on Earth
The World

Abrupt and dramatic climate change destroyed some ancient civilizations. And scientists warn that history could repeat itself. Reports about global warming often talk about temperatures rising gradually during the next century. The idea of slow change leads many people and politicians to assume there will be time to adapt to warmer and wilder weather, changes in farming and shoreline erosion. But, what if that assumption is false. What if climate change happens quickly? And unpredictably? That’s what some scientists worry about. A recent collaboration between climatologists and archeologists shows that rapid climate change brought down earlier civilizations. And as Living On Earth contributor Bob Carty reports, those scientists wonder if today’s global warming might do the same to us.

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