"Stable Climate of Past 12,000 Years?" Hardly

A @DailyBeast story By Sharon Begley, besides claiming a link between this epic tornado season and global warming, also includes this unsupported line: “From these and other extreme-weather events, one lesson is sinking in with terrifying certainty. The stable climate of the last 12,000 years is gone.”

Separate from the tornado non-issue, anyone positing that we’re entering a new period of uniquely freaky climate conditions after an equable Holocene Epoch hasn’t looked at any lake beds. A couple examples:

- Sub-Saharan Africa’s multi-millennium pattern of mega-super-uber-droughts beyond anything experienced in recent centuries.

- The northeastern United States’ lake-bed record of unbelievably astounding super-deluges, which make the epic flooding events of recent history look mild by comparison. In other words, the “flood of record” for Vermont, in November 1927 (amazing video), appears to be 10 times less powerful than truly epic gullywashers occurring with some regularity in recent millenniums. 

The last 200 years have been pretty comfy, but the last few thousand - let alone 12,000 - hardly!

The overstatements are unfortunate because the story makes some important points about the lack of focus on building resilience to climate extremes — a no-brainer already and particularly important as building greenhouse gases jog the system (and as human numbers crest).

Global warming will surely tip the odds toward some unpleasant surprises, but recent human history has barely tasted what nature can serve up.