New finding shows climate change can happen in a geological instant
(Phys.org) —"Rapid" and "instantaneous" are words geologists don't use very often. But Rutgers geologists use these exact terms to describe a climate shift that occurred 55 million years ago.
In a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Morgan Schaller and James Wright contend that following a doubling in carbon dioxide levels, the surface of the ocean turned acidic over a period of weeks or months and global temperatures rose by 5 degrees centigrade – all in the space of about 13 years.
Scientists previously thought this process happened over 10,000 years.
"We've shown unequivocally what happens when CO2 increases dramatically – as it is now, and as it did 55 million years ago," Wright said. "The oceans become acidic and the world warms up dramatically. Our current carbon release has been going on for about 150 years, and because the rate is relatively slow, about half the CO2 has been absorbed by the oceans and forests, causing some popular confusion about the warming effects of CO2. But 55 million years ago, a much larger amount of carbon was all released nearly instantaneously, so the effects are much clearer."
There are bizarre incidents taking place right now in the Pacific. I know many like to point to Fukushima as the cause, but ocean acidification has been going on now for a few years and I suspect that is the root cause of some of these die-offs and odd incidents. And these incidents aren't specific to the Pacific Ocean either, they are happening all over.
Whatever the cause of the carbon release,—some scientists theorize that a comet struck the earth—Wright and Schaller's contention that it happened so rapidly is radically different from conventional thinking, and bound to be a source of controversy, Schaller believes.
As to the bolded text, some scientists also theorize that it was methane clathrates being released in large amounts. The methane levels right now are increasing dramatically over the Arctic. Sure it may have been a comet, but it could also have been the methane. I just wish they'd have mentioned it.
Anyway, what more can I say. Sorry to be the one to bring such ugly news. :(