Tags: carbon | emissions | 66 million years

Carbon Emissions: 66 Million Years of Data Show Record Levels Today

Image: Carbon Emissions: 66 Million Years of Data Show Record Levels Today
Exhaust plumes from cooling towers at the Jaenschwalde lignite coal-fired power station, which is owned by Vattenfall, August 10, 2010 at Jaenschwalde, Germany. The Jaenschwalde power plant, built by the former East German government in the 1980s, emits 25 million tons of CO2 annually and is among the biggest single producers of CO2 emissions in Europe. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 22 Mar 2016 10:03 AM

The rate of carbon emissions is higher that at any time in the past 66 million years, according to a recent study that examined fossil records dating to the dinosaur age.

Published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience, the study used a new method for examining carbon emissions by studying fossils of tiny marine organisms in the seabed off the New Jersey coast.
 
“We conclude that, given currently available records, the present anthropogenic carbon release rate is unprecedented during the past 66 million years,” the report said.

The current rate of carbon emissions is greater than that of a natural surge that occurred 56 million years ago and drove temperatures up by about 9 degrees Fahrenheit, Reuters noted.

That ancient event, known as the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum, or PETM, is often used as a comparison for current global warming. The new study suggests that future disruptions to the ecosystem caused by global warming are “likely to exceed the relatively limited extinctions observed at the PETM.”

By comparison, current carbon emissions amount to about 10 billion metric tons a year, compared with 1.1 billion metric tons a year during the ancient warming, which occurred over a period of roughly 4,000 years.

“The present and future rate of climate change and ocean acidification is too fast for many species to adapt, which is likely to result in widespread future extinctions,” said University of Hawaii Professor Richard Zeebe, who led the study, according to The Guardian.

The report was released at the same time the World Meteorological Organization detailed a recent string of climate and weather records in its Status of the Global Climate report, The Guardian also reported.

“The future is happening now,” WMO secretary-general Petteri Taalas said. “The alarming rate of change we are now witnessing in our climate as a result of greenhouse gas emission is unprecedented in modern records.”

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The rate of carbon emissions is higher that at any time in the past 66 million years, according to a recent study that examined fossil records dating to the dinosaur age.
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2016-03-22
Tuesday, 22 Mar 2016 10:03 AM
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