Global warming – we have lessons to learn from the Pliocene epoch

phys.org | 2/9/2018 | Staff
kims (Posted by) Level 3
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Carbon levels around 3 million years ago were similar to those of today and temperatures were even warmer. If something so significant is mirrored in the past, what else can we learn about extreme climate changes?

Three million years ago the Earth's climate was warm enough to permit a forested High Arctic inhabited by large mammals. If the idea of melting icebergs, rising sea levels and 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere sounds all too familiar – welcome to the Pliocene.

Researchers - Pliocene - Years - Reference - Today

For many researchers, the Pliocene, which lasted from 5.3 million to 2.6 million years ago, is our best reference for today's warming. It was the last time atmospheric CO2 levels were similar to today's, trapping heat and raising global temperatures to above the levels Earth is experiencing now. A better understanding of the response of the ice sheets to increasing temperature is needed to make more rigorous projections of how much sea level change could be expected in the future.

We live in uncertain times when it comes to the impact of climate change and global warming, so any insights we can gain from the past is an area of scientific interest. EU support under the PLIOTRANS fellowship is helping to further our understanding of the responses of the ice sheets to a warming climate.

Research - Team - Scientists - PLIOTRANS - Planet

Recent research by a team of scientists, including PLIOTRANS, has been considering how the planet responded to Pliocene warmth. They have published a new paper presenting, for the first time, the transient nature of ice sheets and sea level during the late Pliocene. They show that the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets might have responded differently to Pliocene heat, melting at different times.

Their transient ice sheet predictions are forced by multiple climate snapshots derived from a climate model...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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