Tuesday, August 23, 2016

PETM in the News

From WeatherUnderground

Paleoclimatologists have been very interested in finding an analog in the past for our current rapid warming. A period of high interest among researchers is the The Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), aka "Eocene thermal maximum 1" (ETM1). Looking at analogs is important for adaptation planning since while not exact example by any means, it also can give broad stroke glimpse of possibilities. For example, we have acidification of the oceans in progress. The same occurred during the PETM with the fossil record helping us examine an example of a mass extinction of shelled sea life, that went through a bottleneck at that time. Of course, relevance is limited. The carbon loading and temperature increase rate in the PETM was spread over a a much longer period than ours is and will be. in our "worst case" scenario aka business as usual models, and past/current measurement, it is occurring over just a few centuries.

If you work in the area of adaptation, I recommend reading the new paper Anthropogenic carbon release rate unprecedented during the past 66 million years (2016) In Nature Geoscience, with full text PDF available through esholarship.org @ http://escholarship.org/uc/item/2t94z0x7#page-1
This paper, among other things, takes a really close look at tempo/rate*

Quoting from the paper.

"As rapid reductions in anthropogenic carbon emissions appear increasingly unlikely in the near future, forecasting the Earth system’s response to ever-increasing emission rates has become a high priority focus of climate research. Because climate model simulations and projections have large uncertainties – often due to the uncertain strength of feedbacks – geologic analogues from past climate events are invaluable in understanding the impacts of massive carbon release on the Earth system..."


*As comedian Tony Robinson says,  "In climate change as in comedy, it is all in the timing." 

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