Climate science has a long view. The measuring of rainfall, temperature and pressure with instruments made from glass, mercury and copper wire. Scientists have been collecting data for centuries, first in hand-written notebooks, later in vast computer databases. Edmund Halley mapped the trade winds in 1686 and Benjamin Franklin traced the Gulf Stream in the eighteenth century, the first hints of truly global systems. Helmut Landsberg added statistical analysis in the twentieth century, which revealed fluctuation in what until then had felt eternally recurring to the individual. Eventually, models of Earthʼs climate emerged from the data, an attempt to grasp the forces that drive the reality of our immediate environment, our world.
But science itself is careful. Its method progresses cautiously through hypotheses and experiments, always inviting their falsification. Yet, there are moments when it gets propelled to the forefront of human affairs, such as it happened to theoretical physics when it enabled the construction of nuclear devices. Over the last fifty years, climate science has been making visible that human activity has had a significant and increasing influence on the Earthʼs atmosphere. Now it has been given the place in the spotlight, and it feels quite uncomfortable there.
Excerpt of a text written by Sascha Pohﬂepp. Read it HERE