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Ancient Climate-Change Event Puzzles Scientists
ScienceNOW Daily News ^ | 14 July 2009 | Phil Berardelli

Posted on 07/20/2009 12:26:26 AM PDT by neverdem

Enlarge ImageAlt text

Probing the past. Dark, red-brown ocean sediment layers reveal a telltale warming episode in cores retrieved by the drill ship JOIDES Resolution (inset).

Credit: J. C. Zachos; (inset) Integrated Ocean Drilling Program

Carbon dioxide (CO2) gets a bad rep for contributing to global warming, and deservedly so. But scientists say they can't entirely blame the greenhouse gas for a curious spike in Earth's temperature 55 million years ago. New research reveals that something else also seems to have warmed the planet during that time, though no one's quite sure what it was.

Over the past couple of decades, researchers have been gathering data about a mysterious event known as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM). The data, derived from drill cores brought up from the deep seabed in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, show that the surface temperature of the planet rose by as much as 9°C within 10,000 years during the PETM, which itself started out warmer than our current world. Temperatures stayed at this elevated level for nearly 100,000 years.

On the surface, the culprit appeared to be CO2. For reasons unknown, atmospheric concentrations of the gas rose by about 700 parts per million, from 1000 ppm to 1700 ppm--more than four times higher than today's level of 385 ppm--during the PETM. That much of an infusion of the well-established greenhouse gas should have been plenty to spike temperatures.

But a new analysis doesn't fully support this scenario. Oceanographer Richard Zeebe of the University of Hawaii, Manoa, and colleagues ran carbon-cycle simulations of the oceans and atmosphere based on the data yielded by the sediment cores. They even simulated what would happen to global temperatures when they increased the atmosphere's sensitivity to doubling CO2 levels--to 2000 ppm--during the PETM. The most they could achieve was a warming of 3.5°C, they report online this week in Nature Geoscience. That means some other phenomenon must have pushed up temperatures by as much as 5.5°C, the team says. So at present, the unexplained warming represents a gap in understanding about what causes significant and rapid climate change.

"It's possible that other greenhouse gases such as methane could have contributed to the [PETM] warming," Zeebe says. It's also possible that the models are underestimating the climate response to CO2 increases. If that's the case, it "would mean our understanding of the climate system is incomplete," he says.

Zeebe's team is now looking at smaller warming events that occurred within several million years after the PETM. "We're currently trying to find out whether or not [they] were caused by the same mechanism," he says. The idea is to determine whether the PETM warming was unique "or a universal feature."

Geochemist Gabriel Bowen of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, applauds the work. "We've long had a hunch that something was fishy about the climate response during the PETM," he says. "This study puts the nails in the coffin of the idea that climate during the PETM responded to CO2 alone." Says Bowen, "The urgent challenge now facing us is to find out what was amplifying [temperatures] during this event and understand what it means for Earth's future."


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: agw; catastrophism; climatechange; globalwarming; petm

1 posted on 07/20/2009 12:26:27 AM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem
Carbon dioxide (CO2) gets a bad rep for contributing to global warming, and deservedly so.
What causes the so-called global warming now is the hot air all the politicians and lawyers are spewing up every time they say something. Every time you see a politician's lips move, they are spewing CO2 and lies.
Just look at Osama Obama for the biggest example.
2 posted on 07/20/2009 12:38:21 AM PDT by antiunion person (PALIN/JINDAL 2012)
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To: El Gato; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Robert A. Cook, PE; lepton; LadyDoc; jb6; tiamat; PGalt; Dianna; ...
Vitamin D, curcumin may help clear amyloid plaques found in Alzheimer's disease

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FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.

3 posted on 07/20/2009 12:51:44 AM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: neverdem
“It's possible that other greenhouse gases such as methane could have contributed to the [PETM] warming,” Zeebe says. It's also possible that the models are underestimating the climate response to CO2 increases. If that's the case, it “would mean our understanding of the climate system is incomplete,” he says.”

OR maybe they are over estimating the effects of co2, but perish the thought since ignorance only works in one direction.

4 posted on 07/20/2009 12:53:11 AM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: neverdem
Maybe the sun got a little hotter. One would have to have a full understanding of these star energy systems to think they are a perfectly stable system. What if the nuclear fusion activity of the sun has energy spikes which affects the Earth's climate systems?
5 posted on 07/20/2009 12:57:37 AM PDT by jonrick46 (The Obama Administration is a blueprint for Fabian Socialism.)
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To: neverdem

These guys missed the memo?

The humanoid aliens from the distant planet Garbonski 3 shot a massive chunk, almost 1/3, of the asteroid belt into the sun just about that time. The resultant flares and hard radiation killed the inhabitants of Venus - the lizard people of Delton 16, the long-time enemy of the humanoid aliens. Today, the lizard people are long dead and gone, all trace destroyed by the now boiling surface of Venus.

The positive side effect was the eventual rise of humans.

I submit my theory is s provable as the CO2 theory currently proposed by these scientists.


6 posted on 07/20/2009 1:03:57 AM PDT by ASOC (Who is that fat lady? And why is she singing???)
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To: neverdem

I have come to the conclusion scientists are buffoons. No matter what happens, they think CO2 is the culprit. They are not thinking like scientists, but ideologs hellbent on promoting an agenda.


7 posted on 07/20/2009 1:07:22 AM PDT by Always Right (Obama: more arrogant than Bill Clinton, more naive than Jimmy Carter, and more liberal than LBJ.)
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To: count-your-change
OR maybe they are over estimating the effects of co2, but perish the thought since ignorance only works in one direction.

No kidding. That idea never once crosses their minds.

8 posted on 07/20/2009 1:08:10 AM PDT by Always Right (Obama: more arrogant than Bill Clinton, more naive than Jimmy Carter, and more liberal than LBJ.)
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To: neverdem
The whole article is a glaring indictment of how utterly ignorant these so-called "scientists" truly are.......essentially the article states,"...it could be this, or it could be that, but we really don't know if it's either thing or something we haven't even thought of."
Is it just me or does that not sound like pure dumba$$ery?
9 posted on 07/20/2009 1:08:40 AM PDT by brent13a (You're a Great American! NO you're a Great American! NO NO NO YOU'RE a Great American! Nooo.....WTF?)
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To: antiunion person

The Sun is much much bigger than the Earth.

Perhaps that has some of the cause....but of course that is harder to study with core samples...


10 posted on 07/20/2009 1:09:20 AM PDT by donmeaker (Invicto)
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To: count-your-change
If that's the case, it "would mean our understanding of the climate system is incomplete," he says.


That's the understatement of the decade!

11 posted on 07/20/2009 1:10:15 AM PDT by brent13a (You're a Great American! NO you're a Great American! NO NO NO YOU'RE a Great American! Nooo.....WTF?)
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To: neverdem
Hummmmm???
Lets see, what great minds might find this distressing???
12 posted on 07/20/2009 1:19:53 AM PDT by Freeper Fanatic
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To: neverdem
Hummmmm???
Lets see, what great minds might find this distressing???


13 posted on 07/20/2009 1:21:14 AM PDT by Freeper Fanatic
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To: neverdem

So the earth had CO2 levels 5X today’s and temperatures 9 degrees hotter on average, and it survived? It also readjusted without any cap and trade laws. If that’s true, then what’s the whole climate crisis about? We don’t have to do anything. It’ll fix itself...or maybe the cooling will be a bigger problem. Ice ages aren’t nice to humans.


14 posted on 07/20/2009 1:22:13 AM PDT by JeanLM
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To: Always Right

“I have come to the conclusion scientists are buffoons. No matter what happens, they think CO2 is the culprit. They are not thinking like scientists, but ideologs hellbent on promoting an agenda.”

While not as down on scientists as you (may be), I agree that there are those that pursue their ideology without thought.

I’m reminded of the glaciers that covered much of the northern US.
(AlGore hasn’t stated what the temperature goal needed is, has he?)

I recall a statue made of Asbestos at the NY Worlds Fair (from history, I wasn’t there). Of course, that ‘consensus’ about asbestos has changed.

I recall Nuclear energy portrayed as being so inexpensive that our meters would run backwards.

I recall that our oceans would provide all of the nutrition that we would need.

etc, etc.


15 posted on 07/20/2009 1:51:49 AM PDT by This_far
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To: neverdem
New research reveals that something else also seems to have warmed the planet during that time, though no one's quite sure what it was.

Look up into the sky during the day. See that big glowing yellow ball in the sky? It's called "The Sun". It's a big ball of nuclear reactions that warm the planet. I suggest starting there.

16 posted on 07/20/2009 2:03:11 AM PDT by Question_Assumptions
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To: JeanLM
So the earth had CO2 levels 5X today’s and temperatures 9 degrees hotter on average, and it survived?

I'm pretty sure it had been over ten times today's levels.

17 posted on 07/20/2009 2:08:24 AM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: count-your-change

Most likely the increase in atmospheric was the result of the temperature increase, not the cause of it.

The amount of CO2 stored in the worlds oceans dwarfs the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, by maybe as much a 1000 to 1, and the oceans would have gassed off huge quantities of CO2 as a result of the increase in temperature. Warmer temperature reduces the ability of water to hold dissolved gases, like CO2.


18 posted on 07/20/2009 2:39:31 AM PDT by John Valentine
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To: neverdem

“We can’t tax what lived 55 million years ago but we can sure tax em now.”


19 posted on 07/20/2009 3:19:08 AM PDT by Dallas59 ("You know the one with the big ears? He might be yours, but he ain't my president.")
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To: neverdem; FrPR; enough_idiocy; Desdemona; rdl6989; Little Bill; IrishCatholic; Normandy; ...
 


Beam me to Planet Gore !

20 posted on 07/20/2009 3:37:15 AM PDT by steelyourfaith ("The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money" - Lady Thatcher)
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To: This_far

> “I have come to the conclusion scientists are buffoons.
Don’t confuse genuine scientists with liberal agendists disguised as scientists.


21 posted on 07/20/2009 4:17:17 AM PDT by BuffaloJack (thirst for absolute power is the natural disease of monarchy - Thomas Paine)
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To: count-your-change
“It's possible that other greenhouse gases such as methane could have contributed to the [PETM] warming,” Zeebe says. It's also possible that the models are underestimating the climate response to CO2 increases. If that's the case, it “would mean our understanding of the climate system is incomplete,” he says.”

OR maybe they are over estimating the effects of co2, but perish the thought since ignorance only works in one direction.

Bingo!

Rephrased: "- It's also possible that the models are underestimating the climate CO2 response to CO2 climate temperature increases. If that's the case, it “would mean our understanding of the climate system is incomplete,” he says.” -"

22 posted on 07/20/2009 4:46:11 AM PDT by jnsun (The LEFT: The need to manipulate others because of nothing productive to offer)
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To: neverdem
But scientists say they can't entirely blame the greenhouse gas for a curious spike in Earth's temperature 55 million years ago.

Dinosaurs driving SUV's?

23 posted on 07/20/2009 4:55:50 AM PDT by 6SJ7 (atlasShruggedInd: ON)
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To: neverdem

Guess the people of Atlantis drove their cars back and forth to the pyramids a bit too often. Or was it the dinosaurs switching on their air conditioners all summer that did it?


24 posted on 07/20/2009 4:58:20 AM PDT by Jack Hammer
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To: neverdem
All the charts I have seen show that CO2 concentrations have always risen after
25 posted on 07/20/2009 5:02:37 AM PDT by arthurus ("If you don't believe in shoIt is, indeed,'oting abortionists, don't shoot an abortionist." -Ann C.)
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To: BuffaloJack; Always Right
I have come to the conclusion scientists are buffoons.

Don’t confuse genuine scientists with liberal agendists disguised as scientists.

Mine was a reply to poster Always Right at post #7. I think that perhaps we three are all on the same page?

I do not demean anyone who pursues scientific thought and process up and until, as you say, they bring in an agenda (for personal fame or fortune?).

I offered the examples of what was/could have been previously considered as scientific 'fact'. Reasoning being that the current "consensus" about the Earths climate could be just as inaccurate (and as deadly, health or economically).

26 posted on 07/20/2009 5:10:04 AM PDT by This_far
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To: arthurus

There are effects both ways, but most of the effects of CO2 concentration on temperature occurred in the 0-100 ppm range (if we ever got that low, there would be no plant growth). Beyond that the temperature increase per unit increase of CO2 rapidly approaches zero because of the logarithmic nature of the effect. Temperature fluctuation due to seasonal variation, variations in insolation, variations in solar output, variations in orbit, etc., have a greater effect on atmospheric CO2 being sequestered in or released from ocean water.


27 posted on 07/20/2009 5:10:50 AM PDT by aruanan
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To: neverdem
Carbon dioxide (CO2) gets a bad rep for contributing to global warming, and deservedly so.

Talk about begging the question. Another writer who's afraid of not genuflecting to Algore and his minions.
28 posted on 07/20/2009 5:12:12 AM PDT by aruanan
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To: neverdem
New research reveals that something else also seems to have warmed the planet during that time, though no one's quite sure what it was.

How about the SUN!!!

29 posted on 07/20/2009 7:04:32 AM PDT by painter (No wonder democrats don't mind taxes.THEY DON'T PAY THEM !)
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To: Always Right

Please, friend, stop associating the alarmists with being scientists. They are not following the scientific method, at all. Whether they realize it or not, anyone who believes that doubling CO2 will raise the temperature of Earth by even 3-4C is invoking magical thinking, not science, in order to do so. It may not even be their fault, but simply that they are accepting a magical amplification of CO2 effects programmed into the computer models.

Even if that is the case, any real scientist who comes up against this type of clear FACT that CO2 is not explaining their observations would say, “There is something wrong with the CO2 hypothesis.”, not, “we may not understand something here.”

Many of us who are true scientists understand that a hypothesis is not something to rally a “consensus” around, but that scientific method is to prove, if at all possible, that it is wrong. In the case of the CO2 hypothesis for GW, it has already been proven inadequate in many ways.

Unfortunately, alarmists have proven it adequate to garner more funding, and politicians have decided it is is worth giving that funding since it also gives them more power.

However, please don’t mistake alarmists and politicians for scientists.


30 posted on 07/20/2009 8:23:20 AM PDT by AFPhys ((.Praying for President Bush, our troops, their families, and all my American neighbors..))
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To: jnsun
If you haven't visited www.CO2science.org, take a look. They have results of studies on the effects of increased CO2 on plant life.
31 posted on 07/20/2009 9:56:16 AM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: neverdem

There’s no good news here, “ It’s also possible that the models are underestimating the climate response to CO2 increases. If that’s the case, it “would mean our understanding of the climate system is incomplete,”

This has already been picked up to mean that there are positive forcings we need to add to our models even though their character is uncertain; so far no negative forcings have made the list of possible model runs.


32 posted on 07/20/2009 4:21:55 PM PDT by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, then writes again.)
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To: neverdem

Thanks neverdem.

Global warming: Our best guess is likely wrong
Rice University | Jul 14, 2009 | Unknown
Posted on 07/14/2009 12:51:35 PM PDT by decimon
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2292484/posts


33 posted on 07/20/2009 7:17:22 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/__Since Jan 3, 2004__Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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To: 75thOVI; aimhigh; Alice in Wonderland; AndrewC; aragorn; aristotleman; Avoiding_Sulla; BBell; ...
additional.
 
Catastrophism
· join · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post new topic ·

34 posted on 07/20/2009 7:17:52 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/__Since Jan 3, 2004__Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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To: neverdem

http://www.iodp.org/app

“However, 2009 does provide major challenges, in part because of escalating costs. Available funding does not provide for full year operations for both drillships, or for MSP operations, with the desired frequency. Chikyu will drill for only about five months and the JOIDES Resolution for about seven months. In addition to funding shortfalls, market conditions in shipyards have been extremely tight and have led to continuous delays in completing work on the JOIDES Resolution.”

The Joides Resolution drill ship overhaul ran a year late and cost over $100,000,000. Glad it made back into the headlines in time for the budget slug out.


35 posted on 07/20/2009 9:39:46 PM PDT by bricks4all2
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