Guidebook last pass; Trump is right about climate change

The juxtaposition of my last look at the Guide to Natural Areas of Northern Indiana with Donald Trump’s comments to 60 Minutes on climate change led to an out-of-character heading on a Facebook post on my personal page, which began: Trump is Right.

I began revisiting my Northern Indiana travels when IU Press sent the typeset version of the book for one last review this past week. The 429-page book, not counting the index, is in its final form and will be ready to print when we finish this last pass. It will be released next spring, just in time for hiking season.

The “Rock, Ice and Water” chapter on Northern Indiana’s natural history outlines more than 2.5 billion years of climate change and its impacts on the region’s life and landscape. And Trump couldn’t be any more correct when he acknowledged the climate is warming, but it may change back.

Here’s the post, the details of which are straight from the guidebook and are largely drawn from The Natural Heritage of Indiana.

Trump is right about climate change

Donald Trump was on the money when he told 60 Minutes that the climate is changing and will go back. What he didn't say (and certainly doesn't understand) is that it will take hundreds of years—perhaps thousands or 10s of thousands—for that to happen.

In between, it's likely that the planet will be cleansed of life as we know it.

The earth's climate is perpetually warming and cooling. Over the past 2.5 billion years, global warming has melted the polar ice caps as many as 18 times, causing massive ice sheets to drift south. Scientists believe they've covered Indiana at least 11 times. They've documented four in the last 2 million years—the Nebraskan, Kansan, Illinoisan and Wisconsin Glacials—the period we know as the "Ice Age."

Ice events end when the climate warms, and the glaciers melt and retreat back north. When temperatures warm enough, they melt and drift back south.

These warming periods are called "interglacials." During the latest Ice Age—a.k.a. the Pleistocene—scientists estimate interglacials lasted between a few hundred and more than 100,000 years.

The Wisconsin Glacial began melting about 14,000 years ago and had retreated from Indiana 10,000 years ago.

Trump and his ilk are also right that humans are not "causing" climate change. We're accelerating it.

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