Navigation Links
Getting warmer? Prehistoric climate can help forecast future changes
Date:11/24/2008

The first comprehensive reconstruction of an extreme warm period shows the sensitivity of the climate system to changes in carbon dioxide (CO2) levels as well as the strong influence of ocean temperatures, heat transport from equatorial regions, and greenhouse gases on Earth's temperature.

New data allow for more accurate predictions of future climate and improved understanding of today's warming. Past warm periods provide real data on climate change and are natural laboratories for understanding the global climate system.

Scientists examined fossils from 3.3 to 3.0 million years ago, known as the mid-Pliocene warm period. Research was conducted by the Pliocene Research, Interpretation and Synoptic Mapping (PRISM) group, led by the U.S. Geological Survey.

"PRISM's research provides objective, unbiased data for climate modelers to better understand the environment in which we live and for decision makers to make informed adaptation and mitigation strategies that yield the greatest benefits to society and the environment," said Senior Advisor to USGS Global Change Programs Thomas Armstrong. "This is the most comprehensive global reconstruction for any warm period and emphasizes the importance of examining the past state of Earth's climate system to understand the future."

The mid-Pliocene experienced the most extreme warming over the past 3.3 million years. Global average temperatures were 2.5C (4.5F) greater than today and within the range projected for the 21st century by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

"Exploring the mid-Pliocene will further understanding on the role of ocean circulation in a warming world, the impacts of altered storm tracks, polar versus tropical sensitivity, and the impacts of altered atmospheric CO2 and oceanic energy transport systems," said USGS scientist Harry Dowsett, also lead scientist for PRISM. "We used fossils dated to the mid-Pliocene to reconstruct sea surface and deepwater ocean temperatures, and will continue research by studying specific geographic areas, vegetation, sea ice extent and other environmental characteristics during the Pliocene."

Since CO2 levels during the mid-Pliocene were only slightly higher than today's levels, PRISM research suggests that a slight increase in our current CO2 level could have a large impact on temperature change. Research also shows warming of as much as 18C, bringing temperatures from -2C to 16C, in the high latitudes of the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans during the mid-Pliocene. Warming in the Pacific, similar to a present day El Nio, was a characteristic of the mid-Pliocene. Global sea surface and deep water temperatures were found to be warmer than those of today, impacting the ocean's circulation system and climate. Data suggest the likely cause of mid-Pliocene warmth was a combination of several factors, including increased heat transport from equatorial regions to the poles and increased greenhouse gases.

PRISM has been chosen by the Pliocene Model Intercomparison Project of Paleoclimate Modelling Intercomparison Project Phase II as the dataset against which to run and test the performance of climate models for the Pliocene.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jessica Robertson
jrobertson@usgs.gov
703-648-6624
United States Geological Survey
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. The sea ice is getting thinner
2. Getting wise to the influenza virus tricks
3. Getting better with a little help from our micro friends
4. Getting to the root of the matter
5. Prehistoric aesthetics explains snail biogeography puzzle
6. Climate change goes underground
7. Opportunity for students displaced by Katrina to assess climate vulnerability of Southeast US
8. Climate -- no smoking gun for Neanderthals
9. NASA celebrates a decade observing climate impacts on health of worlds oceans
10. NASA celebrates a decade observing climate impacts on health of worlds oceans
11. University and state agencies to forecast local health effects of climate change
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/2/2017)... LONDON , March 2, 2017 Summary ... require to better understand Merck KGaA and its partnering ... report: https://www.reportbuyer.com/product/3605601/ Description The Partnering Deals ... into the partnering activity of one of the world,s ... reports are prepared upon purchase to ensure inclusion of ...
(Date:2/28/2017)... LOS ANGELES , Feb. 28, 2017   ... identity verification software globally, announces significant enhancements to new ... in May 2016. New products include mobile and desktop ... and DocX TM - a real time manual ... Acuant,s core idScan® technology provides the fastest and most ...
(Date:2/26/2017)... , Feb. 25, 2017  Securus Technologies, ... technology solutions for public safety, investigation, corrections and ... Recidivism and Reentry. "Too often, too ... prisons and county jails are trying to tackle ... inmates and friends and family members. While significant steps ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/22/2017)... , March 22, 2017 Good Start ... it has eclipsed the 130 million covered lives mark ... Shield of Texas . With newly ... Company continues to enjoy strong payor acceptance based on ... clinical programs and genetic counseling, its industry-leading customer care ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... New York , March 22, 2017 ... is largely fragmented, states a research report by Transparency ... S.A., Pfizer Inc., Amgen Inc., and AbbVie Inc., accounted ... in 2015. The prominent players in this market are ... expand their product portfolio, which is likely to lead ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... , March 22, 2017   Boston Biomedical , ... therapeutics designed to target cancer stemness pathways, today announced ... Andrews as Chief Executive Officer, effective April 24, ... Chiang J. Li , M.D., FACP, who has led ... ago. Under his leadership, Boston Biomedical has grown from ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... March 21, 2017 , ... Okyanos Cell Therapy has announced Tallahassee, FL ... live events series, “Stem Cell Therapy: The Next Phase in the Evolution of Medicine.” ... Stem Cell Research and Therapy Act, Okyanos maintains a mission to help “no-option” ...
Breaking Biology Technology: