On Easter Island, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, massive stone statues are all that is left of the Rapanui civilization. It is assumed that, by gradually deforesting their land, the ancient populations of this remote island caused an agricultural meltdown that led to a recession. But the Rapanuis did not have the tools required to prevent unfavourable conditions from occurring.
Today we know that the concentration of atmospheric CO2 has increased by more than 380 ppm in the past 150 years, reaching its maximum value for the last 800,000 years. During the last century, the overall temperature of the Earth has increased by 0.7°C and for the next 100 years, according to the various scenarios of greenhouse gas emissions, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts a further increase between 1.1°C and more than 6°C. The entire ice-sheet covering Greenland may disappear, or at least be greatly reduced, raising the global sea level by more than 6 metres. The Earth may become similar to what it was like 125,000 years ago.
In order to understand how anthropogenic effects have influenced the natural variability of the climate in the Mediterranean area, an international team of paleoclimatologists has been working for the last few years on studying natural archives - fossils or sedimentary deposits - capable of providing reconstructions of the climate and sea level.
This is a joumey around the continents and the oceans to understand the mechanisms of climate change, future scenarios, and possible solutions.