future climates and future environments

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  • 1 Department of Geography, University of Toronto, Canada
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The prediction of the atmosphere's future states, like the comprehension of its past, must be based on a sound theory of the present climate. This theory must extend to the links between atmosphere, vegetation and soil, as well as the ocean. This calls for a broader approach to climatology than that now common—one in which the biological sciences, soil science and geography must play a part. The controversy over the stability of present day climates in the presence of rising carbon dioxide mixing ratios and increased turbidity has already required the broadening. Moreover, known or suspected self-amplifying mechanisms, like the stability of the arctic pack-ice, usually involve nonmeteorological processes. Hence climatologists have no choice but to become broad environmental scientists.

1 Paper presented at the AMS Symposium on the Future of the Atmosphere, Madison, Wis., 22 October 1969.

The prediction of the atmosphere's future states, like the comprehension of its past, must be based on a sound theory of the present climate. This theory must extend to the links between atmosphere, vegetation and soil, as well as the ocean. This calls for a broader approach to climatology than that now common—one in which the biological sciences, soil science and geography must play a part. The controversy over the stability of present day climates in the presence of rising carbon dioxide mixing ratios and increased turbidity has already required the broadening. Moreover, known or suspected self-amplifying mechanisms, like the stability of the arctic pack-ice, usually involve nonmeteorological processes. Hence climatologists have no choice but to become broad environmental scientists.

1 Paper presented at the AMS Symposium on the Future of the Atmosphere, Madison, Wis., 22 October 1969.

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