Research brings new understanding to past global warming events

Apr 02, 2012
The Bighorn Basin area of Wyoming, University of New Hampshire professor Will Clyde and colleagues found new evidence leading to a greater understanding of the Pelaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), a major warming that occurred more than 50 million years ago. Credit: Thomas Westerhold

A series of global warming events called hyperthermals that occurred more than 50 million years ago had a similar origin to a much larger hyperthermal of the period, the Pelaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), new research has found. The findings, published in Nature Geoscience online on April 1, 2012, represent a breakthrough in understanding the major "burp" of carbon, equivalent to burning the entire reservoir of fossil fuels on Earth, that occurred during the PETM.

"As , it unnerves us that we don't know where this huge amount of released in the PETM comes from," says Will Clyde, associate professor of at the University of New Hampshire and a co-author on the paper. "This is the first breakthrough we've had in a long time. It gives us a new understanding of the PETM." The work confirms that the PETM was not a unique event – the result, perhaps, of a meteorite strike – but a natural part of the Earth's carbon cycle.

Working in the Bighorn Basin region of Wyoming, a 100-mile-wide area with a semi-arid climate and stratified rocks that make it ideal for studying the PETM, Clyde and lead author Hemmo Abels of Utrecht University in the Netherlands found the first evidence of the smaller hyperthermal events on land. Previously, the only evidence of such events were from marine records.

"By finding these smaller hyperthermal events in continental records, it secures their status as global events, not just an ocean process. It means they are atmospheric events," Clyde says.

Their findings confirm that, like the smaller hyperthermals of the era that released carbon into the atmosphere, the release of carbon in the PETM had a similar origin. In addition, the warming-to-carbon release of the PETM and the other hyperthermals are similarly scaled, which the authors interpret as an indication of a similar mechanism of carbon release during all hyperthermals, including the PETM.

"It points toward the fact that we're dealing with the same source of carbon," Clyde says.

Working in two areas of the Bighorn Basin just east of Yellowstone National Park – Gilmore Hill and Upper Deer Creek – Clyde and Abels sampled rock and soil to measure carbon isotope records. They then compared these continental recordings of carbon release to equivalent marine records already in existence.

During the PETM, temperatures rose between five and seven degrees Celsius in approximately 10,000 years -- "a geological instant," Clyde calls it. This rise in temperature coincided exactly with a massive global change in mammals, as land bridges opened up connecting the continents. Prior to the PETM, North America had no primates, ancient horses, or split-hoofed mammals like deer or cows.

Scientists look to the PETM for clues about the current warming of the Earth, although Clyde cautions that "the Earth 50 million years ago was very different than it is today, so it's not a perfect analog." While scientists still don't fully understand the causes of these hyperthermal events, "they seem to be triggered by warming," Clyde says. It's possible, he says, that less dramatic warming events destabilized these large amounts of carbon, releasing them into the atmosphere where they, in turn, warmed the Earth even more.

"This work indicates that there is some part of the carbon cycle that we don't understand, and it could accentuate ," Clyde says.

Explore further: TRMM Satellite calculates Hurricanes Fay and Gonzalo rainfall

More information: The article, "Terrestrial carbon isotope excursions and biotic change during Palaeogene hyperthermals," was published online in Nature Geoscience. www.nature.com/naturegeoscience

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User comments : 37

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NotParker
1.5 / 5 (15) Apr 02, 2012
Sorry. Global Warming is only caused by man. VD and his STD's say so. Therefore this cannot be correct.
Kedas
2.5 / 5 (2) Apr 02, 2012
Sorry. Global Warming is only caused by man. VD and his STD's say so. Therefore this cannot be correct.

The scary part is if both are true.
(we have no choice, we are part the cycle)
rubberman
4.4 / 5 (9) Apr 02, 2012
Sorry. Global Warming is only caused by man. VD and his STD's say so. Therefore this cannot be correct.

The scary part is if both are true.
(we have no choice, we are part the cycle)


Np doesn't believe in global warming, he thinks the earth is cooling off. He tries to prove this which is like trying to prove gravity originates in clouds....

And yes that is the scary part, and is also the reason that climate scientists keep ringing the alarm bells louder and more frequently...seemingly to no avail.
Vendicar_Decarian
0.8 / 5 (40) Apr 02, 2012
Make up your mind Tard Boy. Last week you were claiming that warming is caused by Elvis.

It's anything but the truth with you Denialists.

"Global Warming is only caused by man." - ParkerTard
Teneca
1.2 / 5 (5) Apr 02, 2012
..Global Warming is only caused by man. VD and his STD's say so. Therefore this cannot be correct.
IMO this could be a coincidence of many factors. The people may contribute to global warming (GW), they definitely contribute to droughts with aerosols and acidification of oceans with fossil carbon dioxide, but the whole origin of global warming may be completely different. IMO the main reason of GW could be the redistribution of dark matter inside of solar system, because we can observe many signs of GW at the other planets too. The neutrinos of dark matter could accelerate the decay of potassium inside of marine water, thus contributing to the heating of oceans from bottom up. The shift of center of mass of solar system with dark matter and motion of planets will affect the solar activity, which could have some influence too. IMO the most significant factors of GW weren't even considered yet, not to say about their systematical research.
NotParker
1.4 / 5 (9) Apr 02, 2012
Last week you were claiming that warming is caused by Elvis.


AGW and Elvis are both dead. Get used to it.
Dug
1 / 5 (6) Apr 02, 2012
Comments to focus on:

"The findings, published in Nature Geoscience online on April 1, 2012, represent a breakthrough in understanding the major "burp" of carbon, equivalent to burning the entire reservoir of fossil fuels on Earth, that occurred during the PETM."

"This work indicates that there is some part of the carbon cycle that we don't understand, and it could accentuate global warming," Clyde says.

The first means that we can burn what's left of global petroleum products without worrying that the out come will be worse than the PETM. The second means that Homer Simpson will be saying "Duh!" when he reads this classic scientific understatement. Beyond that I think science pretty much knows there are only two sources for these kinds of massive carbon releases - mass extinction events and massive release of oceanic methane hydrates - or both.
Ironhorse
5 / 5 (6) Apr 02, 2012
"During the PETM, temperatures rose between five and seven degrees Celsius in approximately 10,000 years -- "a geological instant,"

Big difference between 10,000 years and 100. Nature is off the hook on this one.
StarGazer2011
1.6 / 5 (7) Apr 02, 2012
"During the PETM, temperatures rose between five and seven degrees Celsius in approximately 10,000 years -- "a geological instant,"

Big difference between 10,000 years and 100. Nature is off the hook on this one.


Big difference between 5-7C and 0.7C (and stable)
NotParker
1.4 / 5 (9) Apr 03, 2012
"During the PETM, temperatures rose between five and seven degrees Celsius in approximately 10,000 years -- "a geological instant,"

Big difference between 10,000 years and 100. Nature is off the hook on this one.


Big difference between 5-7C and 0.7C (and stable)


It was .7C from 1910 to 1944 - before CO2 was supposed to have a big effect.
rubberman
4.4 / 5 (7) Apr 03, 2012
"During the PETM, temperatures rose between five and seven degrees Celsius in approximately 10,000 years -- "a geological instant,"

Big difference between 10,000 years and 100. Nature is off the hook on this one.


Big difference between 5-7C and 0.7C (and stable)


Yes there is a huge difference, .7 degrees in 100 years = 70 degrees in 10,000. If you consider this stable...what do you consider unstable?
Benni
1.6 / 5 (7) Apr 03, 2012
For 4 billion years planet Earth has been undergoing "climate change" & we're solely focused on the past 10-30 years. How many posting comments would like to have been here 1 or 2 billion years ago? Heck, then you'd really have something to complain about. But we're fixing the tiny miniscule contribution we're making, if for no other reason than to make others feel good so that mankind can justify his existence to remain on the planet.

Hopefully there will be regular interplanetary flight service to Mars within a 50-100 years & the groups who think a "pristine environment" somewhere there is more suitable than what will exist on Earth at that time, will have a place to escape to. They can then enjoy the sun induced climate change there in full confidence man had nothing to do with it.

@Teneca: You just might be on to more than you think. Notice the bad winter Europe just went through? Started just after they started generating neutrinos with the Hadron collider startup.
rubberman
4.4 / 5 (7) Apr 03, 2012
Benni...the effect mankind has had on this planet can't be described as "tiny miniscule"....if you believe that, I would use the same words to describe your IQ.
ryggesogn2
2.2 / 5 (10) Apr 03, 2012
Benni...the effect mankind has had on this planet can't be described as "tiny miniscule"....if you believe that, I would use the same words to describe your IQ.

Watermelons must believe this in order to convince useful idiots they can 'fix' it.
rubberman
4.3 / 5 (6) Apr 03, 2012
LOL...just because we broke something doesn't mean it can be "fixed"...I sight the US economy as an example.
Vendicar_Decarian
0.5 / 5 (38) Apr 03, 2012
None. The land surface of the earth didn't have a living thing on it until around 500 million years ago.

Bennie seems impressed by big numbers.

I am impresssed at his low IQ.

"How many posting comments would like to have been here 1 or 2 billion years ago? " - BenTard
StarGazer2011
1 / 5 (2) Apr 03, 2012
"During the PETM, temperatures rose between five and seven degrees Celsius in approximately 10,000 years -- "a geological instant,"

Big difference between 10,000 years and 100. Nature is off the hook on this one.


Big difference between 5-7C and 0.7C (and stable)


Yes there is a huge difference, .7 degrees in 100 years = 70 degrees in 10,000. If you consider this stable...what do you consider unstable?


Depends on how they have arrived at the 10,000 year figure. Its likely thats the limit of their temporal resolution, and so what they really know is that it happened in at most 10,000 years. But its possible it happened in less. Anyone know what the temporal resolution is for this technique?
Vendicar_Decarian
0.5 / 5 (38) Apr 04, 2012
Not surprising.

"It was .7C from 1910 to 1944 - before CO2 was supposed to have a big effect." - ParkerTard

Natural climate variance over the period is about 0.5'C so it is possible that there is a 0.5'C increase due to climate noise, and 0.1'C due to changes in solar irradience, and 0.1'C due to anthropogenic CO2 increases.

Poor Parker Tard. Clueless and growing more clueless by the day.
Vendicar_Decarian
0.5 / 5 (38) Apr 04, 2012
"AGW and Elvis are both dead." - Parker Tard

A North American winter without winter.
March temperatures in the 80's.
5333 temperature records in the U.S. broken in a single day.
Softball sized hail falling in Texas in early April.
Tornado season starting in mid March.
The warmest decade ever recorded in modern history.
30,000 dead in a single European heat wave.
55,000 dead in the Russian heat wave of 2010.

Yup. Global Warming certainly is dead.

Perhaps on Planet Conservadopia.

Isn't that where the grey aliens took Elvis after his rectal probe?

StarGazer2011
2.1 / 5 (7) Apr 04, 2012
Anecdotal
Anecdotal
Law of large numbers (ok that is a little impressive, got a peer reviewed paper to confirm it?)
You believe that, really?
IPCC says no link between AGW and extreme weather
Recorded history is trivial, Holocene climate optimum and MWP; now shown to stretch from Europe to Antarctica http://wattsupwit...global/;
Claiming the Russian heat wave was CAGW is officially denying the peer reviewed science according to the NOAA and others:
http://wattsupwit...at-wave/
http://wattsupwit...ability/

But science and peer review only counts when it supports your faith based nonsense right Vendicar? Wake up and smell the hoax, you seem pretty smart; except for the rudeness.
StarGazer2011
2.1 / 5 (7) Apr 04, 2012
"During the PETM, temperatures rose between five and seven degrees Celsius in approximately 10,000 years -- "a geological instant,"

Big difference between 10,000 years and 100. Nature is off the hook on this one.


Big difference between 5-7C and 0.7C (and stable)


It was .7C from 1910 to 1944 - before CO2 was supposed to have a big effect.

According to the UAH the place on Earth which has shown the most warming since 1978 (full scale CAGW alert) is Iowa, with a 'dangerous' 0.39C, so far the data isnt matching the models is it? Maybe the models were, i dunno, exaggerated for career purposes?

The global composite temperature is -0.11C against 30 year baseline. MINUS :)

http://wattsupwit...t-0-11c/

So if 1910 to 1944 was natural, then 1978 to 2012 could be too, since its smaller.
rubberman
4.5 / 5 (8) Apr 04, 2012
@SG
"But science and peer review only counts when it supports your faith based nonsense right Vendicar? Wake up and smell the hoax, you seem pretty smart; except for the rudeness"

Your first post yesterday on another article:

"Doomsday postponed again..."Predictions showed obvious changes to expected weather patterns by the end of the century, but it is not yet clear exactly when this signal may first emerge."

but please send money..."we need to improve our observations and models of ocean currents."

Hilarious what gullible people will swallow if you attach the word 'scientist' to the authority figure. Just priests taking advantage of the dull witted, same as always."

THis is more than a little contradictory dude.
Pot...kettle....black.
NotParker
1.7 / 5 (11) Apr 04, 2012

A North American winter without winter.


Except for all the snow records.

14 feet of snow in March.

http://iceagenow....march-1/

Over 5600 snow records in the US int he last year.

Over 2600 since Jan 1st.

Yes, some parts were warm.

But .... on average:

NOAA has the February 2012 as the 17th warmest.

1954 was 4F warmer.
1930 was 2.67F warmer.

December 2011 was 26th warmest.

1939, 1957, 1933, 1941, 1956, 1946, 2006, 1940, 1923 etc were warmer.
NotParker
1.8 / 5 (11) Apr 04, 2012
Except for all the snow records.


And Ice Extent ABOVE normal!

http://arctic-roo..._ext.png
NotParker
1.7 / 5 (11) Apr 04, 2012
A North American winter without winter.


Above average ice in the Arctic.

March temperatures in the 80's.


In a small portion of the globe. The rest of the globe was below normal temperatures.

See top right corner. Global was -.0025 below normal.

http://policlimat...m_30.png

5333 temperature records in the U.S. broken in a single day.


2600 snow records so far this year.

Softball sized hail falling in Texas in early April.


Don't you need cold air for hail?

Tornado season starting in mid March.


Tornadoes are worse when you get cold air colliding with warm. Like 1974.

The warmest decade ever recorded in modern history.


But not this decade.

Last decade was slightly warmer than 1944. All of that was the Urban Heat Island effect.

Coldest European winter in 50 years


Global Warming certainly is dead.


Correct.
rubberman
4.2 / 5 (10) Apr 04, 2012
At the risk of sticking my hands in other giant steaming pile of NP bulls**t...your first link doesn't work (given your past attempts this can only work in your favor anyways). And regarding your statement about ice extent being above normal....normal for when exactly? The graph shows the last 5 years, starting with the year the ice extent reached it's historical minimum since records began....if were calling that year the new "normal", then we are indeed slightly above "normal". See you in September for the minimum ice extent....
NotParker
1.4 / 5 (10) Apr 04, 2012
your first link doesn't work


Works for me.

http://policlimat...m_30.png

Notice the green regions? 7C below normal.

normal for when exactly?


The dotted line is the 1979-2006 average, so it does not include the low year of 2007.

Look at the legend in the bottom left and quit pretending you actually looked at the graph.
rubberman
4.5 / 5 (8) Apr 04, 2012
I owe you an apology. It does indeed show 79-2006, i should have studied it more intently and confirmed the information it contained so as to avoid embarrasing myself in this way. The link that didn't work is your "iceagenow" link regarding the snowfall records that have been set this year...I was looking forward to that one. With regards to your green regions...yes, they are there. Please explain how the entire picture averages out to a net reduction of .019 degrees C over the globe.
Benni
1 / 5 (5) Apr 04, 2012
Benni...the effect mankind has had on this planet can't be described as "tiny miniscule"....if you believe that, I would use the same words to describe your IQ.

Watermelons must believe this in order to convince useful idiots they can 'fix' it.


Hey, you must be one of those Europeans who've figured out how to fix your share of GW. What a genius of an idea to flood your part of the world with manmade neutrinos & anti-matter from the Hadron collider to counterbalance what China, India, Russia & the US have been dumping on you guys.

And if you don't think the miserable odd winters you've had for the past two years isn't manmade in Cern, then you don't understand how to read a timeline, it coincides perfectly with Hadron startups & shutdowns, and your scientists knew this was going to happen, sly guys that they are.
rubberman
4.5 / 5 (8) Apr 05, 2012
Oh man...I can't beleive I'm going to respond to this one but hey...what the hell.
Benni - How big was the collider they fired up at the onset of the Maunder minimum? They must have ran it for quite awhile to have produced that many cold winters. And why are these results specific to the LHC? You are aware that there is a collider in operation in Batavia Illinois...pretty mild winter there this year...I would say that effect from the Tevatron on weather was "tiny miniscule".
NotParker
1.4 / 5 (11) Apr 05, 2012
Please explain how the entire picture averages out to a net reduction of .019 degrees C over the globe.


That was the last 30 days.

Do try and remember the satellite systems RSS and UAH have only been around since 1979.

But both of them have the global anomaly near 0.

UAH has temps .11C above the 30 year average ... about the same temperature as 1983's peak.

http://www.drroys...ratures/

HADCRUT3, land based (and little behind) has about the same:

Jan 2012 = .218
Jan 1983 = .386

It was warmer 29 years ago.

And 68 years ago.

Jan 1944 = 0.240

Howhot
4.4 / 5 (8) Apr 05, 2012
Nopark must be one of these paid for shills. 10,000 years -- "a geological instant,"
Here is a smoothed out global average temperature;
http://www.woodfo.../mean:50
and here is the same with a straight linear regression applied;
http://www.woodfo.../mean:50/trend

If you look at that last graph, You can not argue that there is not a significant upward global warming rend!
http://www.woodfo...50/trend

Correlate that to CO2;

http://www.woodfo...50/trend

Amazing how CO2 and global temperature correlate.

NotParker
1 / 5 (5) Apr 07, 2012

Here is a smoothed out global average temperature;


Lets take a closer look:

http://www.woodfo...77/trend

Not even close.

1909 - 1943 warming was longer and steeper. CO2 is impotent.
NotParker
1 / 5 (5) Apr 07, 2012
1909 - 1943 warming was longer and steeper. CO2 is impotent.


And notice that several periods in the last few years are colder than the past. The differnce between past and present is miniscule.

Jan 1944 0.240
Jan 1958 0.224

Jan 2011 0.194
Jan 2012 0.218

Feb 1878 0.364
Feb 1973 0.278

Feb 2011 0.259

http://www.cru.ue...t3gl.txt

gregor1
2.1 / 5 (7) Apr 08, 2012
"
Nopark must be one of these paid for shills."
'Ad Hominem attacks do not help you put your case. The incessant bad behavior of the alarmist camp is way more effective than any oil industry shill will ever be at herding the public into the skeptic camp. Needless to say NotParker has done an excellent job of presenting the facts and all you have done is effectively soil your pants in public.
Howhot
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 11, 2012
Grefart1; you must be towing your party line or something. To be Alarmist is nothing compared to how ALARMED PEOPLE SHOULD BE! You schmucks are idiots if you can't see the freight-train that is heading OUR WAY! To be honest, NotPark could be the nicest guy (or gal) that a republican would want to meet, but as good as he is at citing the counter-point, the more he has to realize how wrong his position is.

If his moronic debate points some how slow environmentalists actions down on CO2 reduction, he could kill the planet! Or at least be a participant in the human demise of planet Earth.
ubavontuba
1 / 5 (3) Apr 11, 2012
Grefart1; you must be towing your party line or something. To be Alarmist is nothing compared to how ALARMED PEOPLE SHOULD BE! You schmucks are idiots if you can't see the freight-train that is heading OUR WAY! To be honest, NotPark could be the nicest guy (or gal) that a republican would want to meet, but as good as he is at citing the counter-point, the more he has to realize how wrong his position is.

If his moronic debate points some how slow environmentalists actions down on CO2 reduction, he could kill the planet! Or at least be a participant in the human demise of planet Earth.
No, "killing the planet" would be to induce cooling. Corn doesn't grow in icesheets.