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Earth Barreling Toward 'Hothouse' State Not Seen In 50 Million Years, Epic New Climate Record Shows

Published by Slashdot on Fri, 11 Sep 2020


[I]n a new study published in the journal Science, researchers have analyzed the chemical elements in thousands of foram samples and found that Earth is barreling toward a hothouse state not seen in 50 million years. Live Science reports: The new paper, which comprises decades of deep-ocean drilling missions into a single record, details Earth's climate swings across the entire Cenozoic era -- the 66 million-year period that began with the death of the dinosaurs and extends to the present epoch of human-induced climate change. The results show how Earth transitioned through four distinct climate states -- dubbed the Warmhouse, Hothouse, Coolhouse and Icehouse states -- in response to changes in the planet's orbit, greenhouse gas levels and the extent of polar ice sheets. The zig-zagging chart (shown above) ends with a sobering peak. According to the researchers, the current pace of anthropogenic global warming far exceeds the natural climate fluctuations seen at any other point in the Cenozoic era, and has the potential to hyper-drive our planet out of a long icehouse phase into a searing hothouse state. "Now that we have succeeded in capturing the natural climate variability, we can see that the projected anthropogenic warming will be much greater than that," study co-author James Zachos, professor of Earth and planetary sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz, said in a statement. "The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projections for 2300 in the 'business-as-usual' scenario will potentially bring global temperature to a level the planet has not seen in 50 million years." (The IPCC is a United Nations group that assesses the science, risks and impacts of climate change on the planet.)Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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