And the Nobel Prize in Physics goes to…climate researchers? It’s complicated.
The Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to three scientists who have delved into the intricacies of climate, Giorgio Parisi of Italy, Klaus Hasselmann of Germany, and Syukuro Manabe of the US.
Wait…is that physics?
Well, yes. Physics and math and meteorology and chemistry and fluid mechanics and biology and computer science and just about every other branch of science you can think of.
And that’s the point: Climate is complicated. Complicated in terms of what factors make up the long-term global weather systems that form Earth’s climate, what climate affects, how humans respond to it, and how our actions feed back into the system to create climate change.
It’s understandable if we get confused in trying to figure out the relationship between climate and specific events like hurricanes, floods, droughts, and heat waves. Climate is big picture, so it’s hard to know if the changes we see in nature are simply odd occurrences or an indication of a major trend.
That’s where these pioneers come in. By using the scientific method—observe, hypothesize, and test the theory—these scientists helped create the climate models that accurately predicted over the past 50 years the effect of increasing carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, the effect of warming oceans on tropical storms, and the effect of melting polar ice on ocean currents.
Yes. That’s how long scientists have been raising concerns about climate change. Warning us, and providing the scientific evidence.
We know what we need to do: Stop fueling our power and transportation sectors with coal and oil. Keep carbon trapped in the ground by preserving more of our land from development. Move away from water and energy intensive meat-based diets to plant-centric diets. Improve farming practices to preserve soil nutrients.
Don’t let another 50 years go by before we heed the warnings.
Interested in sci fi with a climate theme? Check out Project Hannibal.