William H. Calvin, "When Climate Staggers." The 2004 Adamson Lecture in International Studies, Westminster College (25 March 2004).See also http://WilliamCalvin.com/2004/Westminster climate.htm
The Powerpoint slides are here.
The slides for the honors class talk on human evolution are here.
Coming on stage now is a stunning example of how civilization must rescue itself. It dwarfs the three big scientific alerts from the 1970s about global warming, ozone loss, and acid rain. But until the 1990s, no one knew much about abrupt climate change, those past occasions when the whole world flipped out of a warm-and-wet climate like today’s into the alternate mode, which is like a worldwide version of the Oklahoma Dust Bowl of the 1930s. There are big alterations in only 3-5 years. A few centuries later, the drought climate flips back into worldwide warm-and-wet, even more quickly. Unlike greenhouse warmings, the big flips have happened every few thousand years on average, though the most recent one was back before agriculture in 10,000 B.C. The next flip may arrive sooner than otherwise, thanks to our current warming trend. The northern extension of the Gulf Stream appears quite vulnerable to global warming in four different ways. An early warning might be a decline in this current. And according to two oceanographic studies published this last year, this vulnerable ocean current has been dramatically declining for the last 40-50 years, paralleling our global warming and rising CO2.
•This is the best pamphlet-sized treatment on the new scientific warnings. –Use the link to the PDF file at WHOI and print out a supply for your classes.
The best book-sized treatment of the science of ancient climates is Richard Alley's The Two Mile Time Machine (Princeton 2000).
My human evolution book A Brain for All Seasons devotes the last third to climate influences and to warnings about future abrupt climate shifts.
It is written at approximately the same level (for serious but nonscientific readers) as my Atlantic Monthly cover story, "The great climate flip-flop."
Famines, and Emperors : El Nino and the Fate of Civilizations
The Virtual Index for my books and articles, far better than my printed index in most cases:
other authors' books (and who has quoted them):
A Brief History
of the Mind, 2004
Lingua ex Machina
The Cerebral Code
How Brains Think