This observation by JJ Mollo made me think:
"The temperature in a glass of ice water remains at 32 degrees F until the last ice cube melts. Then the temperature soars. Let me ask you this. What’s going to happen to the planet when the last glacier melts?"
With a record number of hurricanes and even a heat wave in England, I guess we’re all wondering where we’re headed with the weather. No one is sure. (It’s chilly and damp today.)
Medievel Optimum. But let me suggest that global warming has happened before, and it didn’t kill off the human race. In fact, it encouraged the settling of areas like Pennsylvania and New York, which humans until then had shunned as too cold in winter.
What and when was this period? It was the Medieval Warm Period, also called the Medieval Optimum. From A.D. 900 to 1300, it raised the temperature of the world by a few degrees.
Before this period, America’s earliest inhabitants, call them Indians, had run down from Siberia and confined themselves for 20,000 years to Central and South America and to the southern part of North America.
Warm and swarm. After A.D. 900, when the winters warmed, some Indians moved to what is the U.S. Northern Tier and the Northeast and settled down to stay (at least till the Europeans showed up). And when the world cooled again, they adapted.
That’s the happy side of the story. The other side: With the Medieval Optimum, the area that now is the Western United States dried up. Long droughts left little water in the Colorado River. If that happens again, that’s big trouble.
By the way, the Medieval Warm Period was followed by the Little Ice Age, which cooled the planet slightly until 1800. After that, for 190 years the United States had the climate we’re all pretty much used to.
Then came the Post-Modern Optimum.