MINT135 | Autumn | 6 ECTS

Climates and History: What the Past Can Tell Us about the Present and the Future

Global climate change is already one of the critical environmental questions as more frequent and more intense hurricanes, drought, soaring urban temperatures and vegetation change seem roil human societies and landscapes and transform disease profiles.. Places that seemed immune to natural devastation--- Portugal, Switzerland, New York, Sta Barbara, Houston, Mumbai, Sao Paulo, Dubai, Los Angeles, now buckle under the onslaughts. Climate change is one of the distinctive features of what is now called the Anthropocene and with this come major changes in the dynamics of the natural world.. Models of incremental change have informed popular thinking about the questions, confusions about differences between weather and climate and the muddles of policy makers ( and active attempts to confuse them) speak to an emerging crisis climate crisis that has its analog in the Corona Crisis. In part, models have lulled analysts into to a reactive rather than an adaptive mode of addressing the inevitable issues of change and also more general a lack of attention to how incremental change can become exponential. The scientific community, however, believes that the dynamics of change will now only accelerate and we are only at the beginning of the beginning.. But climate has been affected by, and affected many different kinds of earth system phenomena, and it’s useful to keep these in mind as well. First because they were profound and consequential, second because the response to them was varied: that is, these events had “long tails”---their influences were multiple and had more historical influence than we give them credit for; and finally as we look at current dynamics amplify their effects. While previous versions of this course have emphasized past phenomena a bit more, this round emphasizes more of the contemporary history and what it means. Given the wide geographic origins of you students, it might be useful to put more of your own places into the analysis.