Discussions about the influence of human activities on climate usually either focus on projections of climate change based on complex climate models, or on instrumental records and reconstruction of past climates from proxy data (e.g. gases trapped in ice cores, tree rings, etc).
This situation is somewhat unfortunate because it might then seem that anthropogenic forcing of climate is a topic that can only be understood by climate modellers, experts in the interpretation of proxy data, and statisticians who have the tools to analyse climatic time series.
In this talk, building upon a recent Discussion Paper published by the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London, I will take a very different perspective on the matter.
The essential idea is that, instead of just debating climate model projections or time series analysis, it is useful also to reflect on the magnitude of the forcing of climate change due to human activities - a forcing which is well understood and solidly rooted in physics.
To do so, I will provide simple “back-of-the-envelope” calculations to put the relevant numbers into perspective, with a particular focus on the role played by the ocean circulation.
Tea/Coffee from 18:00