Climate Change: Past, Present and Future


Dr J Srinivasan
Dr J Srinivasan
Global warming is a hoax. That’s what Crichton says in his book ‘State of Fear’. On the other end, we have Al Gore making morbid documents on ‘planetary emergency’. Ina situation like this, we are at a loss as to what to believe and what not to: is the Earth going to die in the next 5 minutes or will it ever die? Dr. J. Srinivasan, Chairman of the Divecha Centre for Climate Change, Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, addressed this problem in one of the pre-Shaastra lectures that were held.

According to Dr. J. Srinivasan, global warming is not an extreme. The few people who hold that global warming is a farce have disputable arguments that include that real world data is insufficient; the other polar end which claims that the ‘earth is in icu’ is simply exaggerating the circumstances. Dr. J. Srinivisan explained that global warming was more of a long–term problem similar to the population explosion dilemma we face. “It’s a slow grind” he says.

He quickly moved on to explore the other related misconceptions surrounding climate change and the panic it creates. To the becoming question that most cynics subject scientists to, ‘When scientists can’t predict tomorrow’s weather accurately, how can they predict the climate of the earth 50 years from now?’ Dr. J. Srinivasan made the distinction between weather and climate, pointing out that weather was an initial value problem, while climate was a boundary value problem. Initially he probed into many issues including how climate differs from weather, etc. but soon after he began presenting observations of climatic fluctuations in the past, going as far as the first 4.5 billion years of Earth. He brought in data to emphasise his argument that global warming isn’t going to kill the earth immediately. He was able to present a scientific view to the problem and still highlight the social crisis that would be created. After displaying an array of graphs and visuals, Dr. J. Srinivasan ended his lecture by bringing in a more recent ideology on the problem of global warming, the idea that global warming is actually a part of a much huger dilemma.

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