Accelerating Atmospheric CO2 Levels Are The Worst In 66 Million Years
Did an ancient mega storm toss these giant boulders onto a cliff? A compendium of international scientists think it’s likely. But that’s not the bad news….
Two new climate reports were issued in late March and one was worse than the other. Since a lot of you probably don’t have time to read about the future of the planet, here’s a summary: Earth is warming faster than climatologists previously believed and it appears we are well past the tipping point.
- According the new report in Nature Geoscience (University of Hawaii, University of Bristol in the UK and University of California-Riverside) humans are spewing CO2 into the planetary atmosphere even faster than greenhouse gases increased during the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM). In other words, global greenhouse gas content is ramping up faster than at any time in the past 56 million years.* If you live and breathe on Earth, this situation may turn out to be problematic. When CO2 levels suddenly peaked during the PETM, planetary temperatures shot up quickly and the oceans began to acidify. Just like they are now. The consequences of ocean acidification are worse for some species than other others, but they aren’t good for any of them. The condition is already threatening shellfish, starfish and lobsters. [ READ ]
- During the PETM, the planet was about 5 degrees C warmer than it is now and the heat didn’t let up for 100,000 years.* Republican knuckle draggers like to mumble about climate being cyclical. Well, yes.
As reported by Washington Post science writer Chris Mooney, the study concluded with the following statement: “Given that the current rate of carbon release is unprecedented throughout the Cenozoic, we have effectively entered an era of a no-analogue state, which represents a fundamental challenge to constraining future climate projections.”
- Legendary former NASA climatologist James Hansen headed up an international consortium of scientists that released more dire research, published March 22 in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics [Read full report here]. Quoted in a separate Mooney article, Hansen offers this glimpse of the future: “I think almost everybody who’s really familiar with both paleo and modern is now very concerned that we are approaching, if we have not passed, the points at which we have locked in really big changes for young people and future generations.We have already gotten a glimpse of the world Hansen is talking about: violent superstorms, rapidly warming seas and unpredictable extremes of drought and flood. It has already begun. Besides pretty much telling the climate denial industry to eat his shorts, Hansen is famous for being the first major scientist to predict anthropomorphic climate change. That was back in 1988 when he testified before Congress. Like any good scientist, Hansen has revised his findings since then. As it turns out, he was being too conservative in his modeling. Things are worse than he thought and it is all moving way faster. For updates on what is going on in the Arctic, visit Arctic Climate Topics.
*Republican knuckle draggers and paid climate deniers are fond of pointing out the fact that climate changes are cyclical. Well, yes.