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On Monday 22 January, a new post was added that details the role of The Sun: The Cosmogenic Isotope Record and the Role of The Sun in Shaping Earth’s Climate Climate change is a defining issue for our time. M., 1993, Microfaunal evidence for elevated mid-Pliocene temperatures in the Arctic Ocean. ” by Courtillot, V., Gallet, Y., Le Mouël, J.-L., Fluteau, F. Contribution of Working Group I to the 4th Assessment Report of the IPCC. When viewed in the context of geological time, today’s conditions are atypical.
The geological record contains abundant evidence of the ways in which Earth’s climate has changed in the past. C., Wood, A., Tsukagoshi, A., Ikeya, N., Brouwers, E. We are living through an interglacial period, whose mean temperature is representative of only 10% of the last 800,000 years.
The lead author of the statements is Dr Colin Summerhayes who has participated as guest blogger and commenter on Energy Matters before.
It contains references to support key statements, indicated by superscript numbers, and a reading list for those who wish to explore the subject further. (eds.), Deep-time perspectives on climate change: marrying the signal from computer models and biological proxies. Astronomical calculations indicate that this period of low insolation and associated cool conditions should continue for about another 1,000 years.
What is climate change, and how do geologists know about it? The Micropalaeontological Society, Special Publication, The Geological Society, London, 517-538. Nevertheless, after 1900 the overall decline in temperature sharply reversed.
When the human population was small and nomadic, a rise in sea level of a few metres would have had very little effect on Homo sapiens. and 55 others, 2009, Obliquity-paced Pliocene West Antarctic ice sheet oscillations. There is now greater confidence that a relatively modest rise in atmospheric CO2 levels and temperatures results in significant (though not globally uniform) sea level rise.
With the current and growing global population, much of which is concentrated in coastal cities, such a rise in sea level would have a drastic effect on our complex society, especially if the climate were to change as suddenly as it has at times in the past. Increased CO2 in the atmosphere also increases CO2 levels in the oceans, making sea water slightly more acidic and less oxygenated.
This vital baseline of knowledge about the past provides the context for estimating likely changes in the future. The last century has seen a rapidly growing global population and much more intensive use of resources, leading to greatly increased emissions of gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, from the burning of fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal), and from agriculture, cement production and deforestation. J., 2008, Late Pliocene Greenland glaciation controlled by a decline in atmospheric CO2 levels. If this rate continues, it may reach 600 ppm by the end of this century – a value that appears not to have been typical for at least 24 million years.
Evidence from the geological record is consistent with the physics that shows that adding large amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere warms the world and may lead to: higher sea levels and flooding of low-lying coasts; greatly changed patterns of rainfall ; increased acidity of the oceans [3,4,5,6]; and decreased oxygen levels in seawater [7,8,9]. Our 2010 statement suggested that the rise in Antarctic temperature at the end of the Last Glacial Maximum (approximately 20,000 years ago) began a few centuries before CO2 showed any reaction.
What I am not going to permit is social commentary and chit chat. What I am aiming for is to assemble information in one place that either supports or refutes the position of The Geological Society. Geologists have recently contributed to improved estimates of climate sensitivity (defined as the increase in global mean temperature resulting from a doubling in atmospheric CO2 levels).
I have newly activated a “Comment Image” plugin for the blog that will hopefully enable commenters to post images in their comments. [Unfortunately “comment images” live in the background do not seem to be working. Studies of the Last Glacial Maximum (about 20,000 years ago) suggest that the climate sensitivity, based on rapidly acting factors like snow melt, ice melt and the behaviour of clouds and water vapour, lies in the range 1.5°C to 6.4°C.
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