Science

Ancient Climate Records Predict Earth will Enter Another Warm Epoch

By | Feb 05, 2015 08:25 AM EST
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Mid-Pliocene

Mid-Pliocene reconstructed annual sea surface temperature anomaly(Photo : Wikimedia)

Scientists believe records of carbon dioxide that existed in the Earth's atmosphere millions of years ago apparently support evidence of current climate change events.

The planet's last warm period millions of years ago left evidence that suggests current overall climate will also respond similarly as carbon dioxide levels rise. This study is also in line with future predictions from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), according to the UK team that found evidence from ancient plankton fossils excavated from the sea floor.

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These creatures' shells present clues on how global climate changed from cool to warm numerous times during 2.3 million to 3.3 million years ago.

UK and Australian scientists compared data using this ancient climate record to simulate carbon dioxide content and then compared it to a separate record of carbon dioxide taken from bubbles from prehistoric atmosphere trapped in ice sheets from the North and South Poles.

According to co-researcher Gavin Foster from the University of Southampton, this change in Earth's temperature shows evidence of carbon dioxide level changes, especially when compared to highly reflective ice sheets found to be identical to the cold Pleistocene and warm Pliocene periods.

This conclusion leads to a conclusion of a Pliocene epoch in the future since the IPCC range of climate sensitivity seems to describe the degree of warming Earth will soon experience.

During the Pliocene period, the planet's temperature was seven degrees higher than pre-industrial times. Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were around 350 to 450 parts per million, already similar to levels reached only a few years back at 400 parts per million.

Scientists can now estimate how overall climate will respond to increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. They can do this by understanding and studying carbon dioxide levels during Earth's warm periods in evolution. This is known as climate sensitivity.

The findings now suggest our planet's climate sensitivity is comparable to a warmer Earth in prehistoric times. This study was published in the journal, Nature.

 

 

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