posted 6 June 2003


William H. Calvin, "When climate staggers."  Lecture for UW biology course (8 July 2003). See also

  • This lecture is available as webbed powerpoint (don't even try unless you have a broadband connection).

  • After it loads, click on the "Slide Show" link at lower right.

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  • Some of the slides have audio, but they are excerpted from other talks and may not hang together very well.

William H. Calvin 
it's an image, you need to type it, not copy it (spam...)       
 University of Washington



Coming on stage now is a stunning example of how civilization must rescue itself. It dwarfs the three big scientific alerts from the 1970s about global warming, ozone loss, and acid rain. But until the 1990s, no one knew much about abrupt climate change, those past occasions when the whole world flipped out of a warm-and-wet climate like today’s into the alternate mode, which is like a worldwide version of the Oklahoma Dust Bowl of the 1930s. There are big alterations in only 3-5 years. A few centuries later, the drought climate flips back into worldwide warm-and-wet, even more quickly. Unlike greenhouse warmings, the big flips have happened every few thousand years on average, though the most recent one was back before agriculture in 10,000 B.C. The next flip may arrive sooner than otherwise, thanks to our current warming trend. The northern extension of the Gulf Stream appears quite vulnerable to global warming in four different ways. An early warning might be a decline in this current. And according to two oceanographic studies published this last year, this vulnerable ocean current has been dramatically declining for the last 40-50 years, paralleling our global warming and rising CO2. To order a copy of one of my more recent books, click on a cover for the link to 

A Brain for All Seasons, 2002
A Brain for All Seasons

Lingua ex Machina:  Reconciling Darwin and Chomsky with the Human Brain (Calvin & Bickerton, 2000)
Lingua ex Machina

The Cerebral Code:  Thinking a Thought in the Mosaics of the Mind (1996)
The Cerebral Code

How Brains Think:  Evolving Intelligence, Then and Now (1996)
How Brains Think

Conversations with Neil's Brain:  The Neural Nature of Thought and Language (Calvin & Ojemann, 1994)
Conversations with
Neil's Brain

The River That Flows Uphill
The River That
Flows Uphill


The Throwing Madonna:  Essays on the Brain
The Throwing Madonna

copyright ©2003 by William H. Calvin

William H. Calvin
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: UW, Box 351800, Seattle WA 98195-1800 USA