Fig. 22 Norweigian Sea Image from NASA
It is important not to be fatalistic about the threats posed by abrupt climate change. (National Research Council, 2002).
At this point, we know that abrupt climate change is a reality. It has happened before and will happen again. How and why it happened in the past are still open questions, as are how, why, and when it might happen in the future. The information found in natural archives of climate and environmental change such as ice cores, lake and ocean sediments, tree rings, and other proxies can be of profound benefit to society in understanding and predicting future climate change.
The goal of the World Data Center for Paleoclimatology is to provide easy access to high quality scientific information derived from rigorous studies of past climate changes. We believe, as do most climate scientists, that the topic of abrupt climate change is worthy of further study, and needs more information before predictions can be made about future events. Several national and international initiatives, such as the U.S. Climate Change Science Plan, have targeted this topic as a priority for scientific research.