How Should We Measure Climate Change? What the Past Can Tell Us

By Dagomar Degroot Last month, world leaders met at UN Headquarters in New York City for Climate Summit 2014. As protests raged across the globe, diplomats established the framework for a major climate change agreement next year. The aim will be to limit anthropogenic warming to no more than 2 °C, a threshold established by […]

Reconstructing the Future: Understanding Toronto’s Wild Weather of 2013

By Dagomar Degroot In Toronto, 2013 was a year of storms. The media storm kindled by the mayor’s chicanery was twice interrupted by meteorological storms that threatened lives and property on an unprecedented scale. On July 8th more than 100 mm of rain inundated the city in a matter of hours, triggering flash floods that […]

Understanding the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report from the Perspective of a Climate Historian

By Dagomar Degroot (this post originally appeared on Degroot’s personal website) Established in 1988 by the UN and the World Meteorological Organization, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a scientific body that periodically summarizes the scholarly understanding of the world’s climate. In 2007, the panel’s fourth assessment report outlined in stark terms the likelihood of […]

Hurricane Sandy: A Teachable Moment

By Dagomar Degroot As this is published, so-called “Frankenstorm” hurricane Sandy is flooding large swaths of the American east coast. The deaths of more than sixty people in the Caribbean will likely represent this historic storm’s most direct and poignant toll. However, as reports of devastation come in from across the most densely populated regions […]

The Historical Roots of Today’s Climate of Apathy

By Dagomar Degroot In recent weeks widespread outrage over the publication of Kate Middleton’s topless photos has existed in strange parallel with a decidedly muted response to a shocking acceleration of Arctic melting. While every day brought new stories of royal indignation and litigation to the front pages of major newspapers, concern over the plight […]

Cheering for Global Warming: What Europe’s Climatic Past can tell us About our Attitudes Today

By Dagomar Degroot Last March, 15,000 heat records were shattered across all American states. While monthly temperatures soared over 15 degrees Celsius above twentieth century American averages, unseasonal warmth also affected much of Canada. In Toronto, hushed, apologetic admissions that there might be something to climate change after all quickly yielded to unabashed celebration of […]