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Published: Wednesday 04 September, 2013

winter wear uk winter wear uk Earth suffered global warming spell in ancient times

Earth suffered global warming spell in ancient timesTONY EASTLEY: Global warming is not new. Scientists say 55million years ago a dramatic increase in greenhouse gases warmed the Earths atmosphere, raising sea temperatures and wiping out many species.In the latest Science magazine, US and European scientists say theyve discovered that the warming and steep rise in greenhouse gases was caused by a series of massive volcanic eruptions.Researchers say the ancient findings may help them understand todays problems.Barbara Miller reports.BARBARA MILLER: 55million years ago, there was a steep rise in atmospheric greenhouse gases, matched by an increase in ocean temperatures of at least five degrees. It caused massive extinctions at sea and lasted for more than 220,000 years.One previous theory for the period was that a comet slammed into the earth releasing 2,000 gigatonnes of methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Now scientists from Denmark and the US say massive volcanic eruptions were to blame.Dr Bob Duncan is Professor of Oceanography at Oregon State University.BOB DUNCAN: Weve had a hunch that the intense warming is related to a period of c winter wear uk atastrophic volcanic activity. It occurred at the beginning of rifting in the North Atlantic between the East Greenland margin and Western Europe.And this caused an enormous volcanic eruption. Its intense period lasted perhaps 300,000 years and we think was responsible for this period of warm climate, about 55million years ago.BARBARA MILLER: The researchers say the relatively low level of volcanic activity now is unlikely to have contributed to the current global warming. But they say the findings can help our understanding of todays events.BOB DUNCAN: The background climate 55million years ago was quite a bit warmer than today to start with. But the rates of change were comparable to what is happening on the planet today.So, b winter wear uk y studying this intense period in the natural system, we have some idea of how quickly things can change and how long it takes for the earths system to recover back to stable conditions.BARBARA MILLER: The earth did recover pretty much did it, from this episode 55million years ago?BOB DUNCAN: From all we c winter wear uk an tell yes, it appears to have warmed as five or six degrees the surface temperatures in the oceans and then to have recovered back to stable conditions, that is cooling by that, an equivalent amount, over a period of about 200,000 years. winter wear uk