The climate system is like a rowboat. It has two stable states. "You can tip and then you’ll just go back. You tip it and just go back. And then you tip it and you get to the other stable state, which is upsihttp://www.climatebites.org/climate-communication-metaphors-and-soundbites/the-consequences-are-bad/abrupt-change/addde down."—Donald Perovich, Army Corps of Engineers.
"The climate system is an angry beast, and we're poking it with sticks."
— Walter Broecker, the climate science pioneer who uncovered the ocean's role in accelerating abrupt climate shifts in the earth's past.
"Global warming will very probably unleash unstoppable planetary forces. And they will not be gradual. The history of our planet’s climate shows that it does not do gradual change. Under pressure, whether from sunspots or orbital wobbles or the depredations of humans, it lurches – virtually overnight." — Fred Pearce
Positive feedback increases change in whatever direction that change is heading—so it's self-reinforcing. While riding a motorbike, what starts as a slight wobble can quickly escalate into a total loss of control; a crash.
‘Weather is what you see outside your window, climate is what you see from a satellite.’ – Scott Mandia, Professor of Physical Sciences at Suffolk County Community College, New York.
'Scientists say, when it comes to climate change, we need to manage what is unavoidable and avoid what is unmanageable.' — Thomas Friedman, NY Times columnist
The longer global warming continues, the greater the risk of "waking the sleeping giants"—major feedbacks such as ice sheet collapse, methane "burps," or ecosystem collapse—that could ignite abrupt or runaway warming beyond our control.
'When you focus on just atmospheric heat to measure global warming, it's like tracking the tip of your dog’s tail to determine its location, instead of the body of the dog.' — Greg Laden, biological anthropologist and science communicator.
What happens in the Arctic, doesn't stay in the Arctic. The rapid disappearance of sea ice cover can have consequences that are felt all over the Northern Hemisphere, due to the effects it has on atmospheric patterns.
“Climate Change is not just another issue. It is an issue that if left unchecked, will swamp all other issues.” — Ross Gelbspan, writer and activist. He wrote two books on global warming: The Heat Is On (1997) and Boiling Point (2004)
"If 1 degee melts the Arctic, we're fools to find out what 2 degrees will do." — Bill McKibben, environmental author & founder of 350.org
"The paleoclimate record shouts out to us that, far from being self-stabilising, the Earth's climate system is an ornery beast which overreacts to even small nudges." -- Reknowned paleoclimatologist, Wallace Broeker
Continued release of greenhouse gases is like playing "Russian Roulette with the climate, hoping that the future will hold no unpleasant surprises. No one knows what lies in the active chamber of the gun."
-- Oceangrapher, Wallace Broecker, 1987.
"Climate change has taken on political dimensions...That's odd because I don't see people choosing sides over E = mc2 or other fundamental facts of science." — Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, Host of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.
"You never have 100% certainty in anything. If you wait for 100% certainty on the battlefield, something bad is going to happen." — Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn (retired), former Deputy Chief of Naval Operations.
Humans have overrun the planet to live in every ecosphere. We have had a dramatic impact on natural resources in every land we have colonised. But our impact pales in comparison with plankton.
As the Arctic warms, so the northern continents at higher latitudes experience cold winters with heavy snow falls. It's rather like the fridge door being left open: warm air goes in at the top as cold air falls out into the room.