The Hot Zone

Past warming one-tenth rate of modern day climate change

Climate scientists find it useful to use analogs to put modern day change into historical perspective. No analog is more useful than the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum, a period of rapid warming that occurred 56 million years ago when the continents were virtually in the same location as today. During the PETM, temperatures shot up 9 to 16 degrees Fahrenheit over a period of 20,000 years, a result of a massive release of carbon into the ocean and atmosphere. A new study out of Penn State... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on June 6, 2011 No Comments »
Category : Climates of the Past

Tens of thousands of years needed for Earth to recover from mass carbon releases

It’s easy to come up with ways that carbon is released into the atmosphere — an erupting volcano, a massive wildfire, or in today’s world, millions of fossil fuel burning cars and power plants. But how does carbon eventually get put back into the earth? A paper published in Nature Geoscience this month by scientists at Purdue University and the University of California at Santa Cruz examined the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, a 170,000 year period of global warming that took... [Read more]

Posted by Alison Hawkes on December 1, 2010 No Comments »
Category : Climates of the Past

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