Extreme Global Warming in Prehistory

In the distant past, about 56 million years ago, the earth experienced global warming on a much larger scale than what climate scientists are predicting we will see in the worst case due to current natural warming and additional warming due to man-made carbon dioxide emissions. The event, known as the Pliocene/Eocene Thermal Maximum (or PETM), is described this short PBS documentary.

Why is this important? Because it shows what happens when there is a massive release of CO2 and the earth’s temperature warms by 8C (or 15F). On the negative side, ocean’s became more acidic and vast numbers of marine animals died off, including coral. On the positive, tropical rain forests spread across much of the globe. The PETM provides a model of what the earth will be like if we allow the atmosphere’s CO2 concentration to increase too much

One of the major differences between the warming that led to the PETM and the current warming we are experiencing and contributing to is the rate at which the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing. Though in geological terms, CO2 concentration increased very quickly before the PETM occurred, we are currently increasing it much more rapidly. We have no idea what problems this high rate of change will cause. This is the true danger of man made climate change.

About jimbelton

I'm a software developer, and a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, and I blog about movies, books, and philosophy. My interest in religious philosophy and the search for the truth inspires much of my writing.
This entry was posted in philosophy and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s