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Extreme Weather Events in Europe During the Holocene
Reference
Starkel, L. 2002. Change in the frequency of extreme events as the indicator of climatic change in the Holocene (in fluvial systems). Quaternary International 91: 25-32.

What was done
The author reviews what is known about the relationship of extreme weather events to climate in Europe during the Holocene.

What was learned
In general, more extreme fluvial activity, of both the erosional and depositional type, was associated with cooler climates. "Continuous rains and high-intensity downpours," according to Starkel, were major problems, the "most distinct" of which was "from the Little Ice Age." Such "flood phases," the author reports, "were periods of very unstable weather and frequent extremes of various kinds." Starkel also notes that "most of the phases of high frequency of extreme events during the Holocene coincide with the periods of declined solar activity."

An example of recovery from one such period is the Younger Dryas-Preboreal transition, during which temperatures in Germany and Switzerland rose by 3-5C over several decades. "This fast shift," says Starkel, "caused a rapid expansion of forest communities, rise in the upper treeline and higher density of vegetation cover." As a result, there was a "drastic" reduction in sediment delivery from slopes to river channels.

What it means
The colder periods of the current interglacial in Europe that were associated with decreased solar activity, such as the Little Ice Age, have been characterized by the author as "periods of very unstable weather and frequent extremes of various kinds." With warming, however, such as that of the past couple of centuries, the weather nearly always became less extreme, vegetation proliferated, and generally good times returned. If this is what the climate alarmists are worried about, we say ... bring it on!


Reviewed 17 July 2002