New finding shows climate change can happen in a geological instant

Oct 07, 2013 by Ken Branson
New finding shows climate change can happen in a geological instant
Morgan Schaller, James Wright, and the core sample that helped them understand what happened -- and how fast it happened -- 55 million years ago. Credit: James Wright, Rutgers University

(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 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.

Wright, a professor of earth and planetary sciences in the School of Arts and Sciences and Schaller, a research associate, say the finding is significant in considering modern-day .

"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."

The window to this important decade in the very distant past opened when Wright helped a colleague, Kenneth Miller, and his graduate students split core samples they extracted from a part of southern New Jersey once covered by the ocean.

The patterns found in the long cylinder of sediment told a story. There were distinct clay bands about 2 centimeters thick occurring rhythmically throughout the cores.

New finding shows climate change can happen in a geological instant
A close-up of the core at the heart of Wright's and Schaller's work. Not the regluar dark bands -- "like a tree ring," Schaller said. Credit: James Wright, Rutgers University

"They called me over and said, 'Look at this," said Schaller.  "What jumped out at me were these rhythmic clay layers, very cyclic. I thought, 'Wow, these have got to mean something."

Wright and Schaller surmised that only climate could account for the rhythmic pattern they saw. "When we see cycles in cores, we see a process," Schaller said. "In this case, it's like a tree ring. It's giving us a yearly account through the sediments."

This discovery provided the necessary data to finally solve the huge conundrum surrounding this event – the significant error in how fast the carbon was released.

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.

"Scientists have been using this event from 55 million years ago to build models about what's going on now," Schaller said. "But they've been assuming it took something like 10,000 years to release that carbon, which we've shown is not the case.  We now have a very precise record through the that can be used to fix those models."

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VendicarE
4.2 / 5 (10) Oct 07, 2013
Was it CO2, or was it methane that was degraded to CO2?
Grallen
4.3 / 5 (6) Oct 07, 2013
It was CO2. (Most likely)

I would think they would have mentioned methane in the sample.
NikFromNYC
1.4 / 5 (27) Oct 07, 2013
"...about half the CO2 has been absorbed by the oceans and forests, causing some popular confusion about the warming effects of CO2."

Bullshit alert. Bzzzz! Wazzza b'rooop! Kooonah zip zip zip b'rooop!

It's not "some popular confusion" but it *is* the abject failure of climate models and thus failure of the very core of a rogue scientific field that took a highly speculative hypothesis of positive water vapor feedback of any type of warming influence and elevated it to the level of physical law, with dishonesty levels that gave old Soviet state science schemes a run for their money, as this whole field of science basically became Enron.

Now that the big money has moved on, Gore downsizing his already sold out PR operation, this scammers den is doing all manner of public damage control minus the crucial component that defines science over all other competitive fields: sincere honesty.

Marcott '13 and Cook '13 are brazen scientific frauds yet *remain* unretracted, shamefully.
VendicarE
3.6 / 5 (15) Oct 07, 2013
"Marcott '13 and Cook '13 are brazen scientific frauds" - NikkieTard

If you had the mental capacity you could write a paper showing this to be true, and have it published.

Unfortunately for you, you are a delusional quack who is off his meds.
katesisco
1.1 / 5 (18) Oct 07, 2013
The PETM, the 9 my heating event of which this paper refers, followed the 65 my extinction event. Long known for the global warming and sea level rise, and not widely known extinction of its own, that of the seabottom dwelling foraminafera.
This implies not just an outside external event but an internal core-heating event.
Shootist
1.8 / 5 (25) Oct 07, 2013
"Climate change" in a "geologic instant" is well known.

At the start of the Younger Dryas the southern coast of England went from deciduous forest to tundra in a time less than 100 years. This has been known for at least 30 years.

The same may be said for the climate change that brought an end to the Viking era in North America and Greenland, caused Iceland to be ice bound for several decades in the 13th century, and, killed off the vineyards in Scotland and Scandinavia.

Vendi? It would be nice if you'd pull your head out of your algore. You are, after all, a disgusting excuse for a human being.
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (20) Oct 07, 2013
What was the origin of the CO2?
PeterParker
3.3 / 5 (15) Oct 07, 2013
"What was the origin of the CO2?" - RyggTard

An interesting question, but not one that is relevant to the issue of warming.

The CO2 concentration of the atmosphere during that period now has been measured to a high resolution.

If you were interested in being consistent and honest you would be whining that CO2 doesn't cause warming as you have regularly done in the past.

Has you gone and did learnded somfink, Tardieboy?
PeterParker
3.6 / 5 (14) Oct 07, 2013
"You are, after all, a disgusting excuse for a human being." - ShooTard

Vendicar will die content in the fact that he has lived the life of a honest physicist and a member of the reality based community.

You will never be able to make such a claim.
VENDItardE
1.2 / 5 (18) Oct 07, 2013
Vendicar will die content in the fact that he has lived the life of a honest physicist and a member of the reality based community.

No one cares what he feels, we would just like him(you) to go.
Neinsense99
2.6 / 5 (17) Oct 08, 2013
Vendicar will die content in the fact that he has lived the life of a honest physicist and a member of the reality based community.

No one cares what he feels, we would just like him(you) to go.

Just how many accounts comprise this "we" that you represent?
VendicarE
3.9 / 5 (8) Oct 08, 2013
"No one cares what he feels, we would just like him(you) to go." - Venditard

It must be very frustrating for you people to spend your lives mentally living in a land of ConservaTard make believe, and yet be forced by nature to physically inhabit a universe of real things that you are incapable of understanding.
alfie_null
4 / 5 (9) Oct 08, 2013
Unfortunately for you, you are a delusional quack who is off his meds.

I used to think it was something he was cooking up in his chem lab. But there's some sense to what you say. His irrational fixation on Al Gore, for instance. Secret service take note, I guess.

Suggesting he write a paper is an amusing notion. I pity the reviewers.
vlaaing peerd
4.2 / 5 (11) Oct 08, 2013
Bullshit alert. Bzzzz! Wazzza b'rooop! Kooonah zip zip zip b'rooop!


Thanks for the warning, it saved me from reading the rest of your post.
rivetz
4.3 / 5 (8) Oct 13, 2013
The majority of these comments are an embarrassment to both sides of this debate. Seriously, the findings represented by this study are potentially incredibly bad news; does anyone have anything remotely constructive to say? Has anyone even read the paper?

I'm going to fork out for the paywall but can't imagine why I'd share any feedback here, as I've got better things to do than get called a tard for having an opinion one way or the other. Sophomoric and shameful. Grow up, people, this is a serious, serious topic.
VendicarE
5 / 5 (5) Oct 13, 2013
Absolutely serious.

When do we start slitting Denialist throats?
thermodynamics
4.4 / 5 (7) Oct 13, 2013
Bullshit alert. Bzzzz! Wazzza b'rooop! Kooonah zip zip zip b'rooop!


Thanks for the warning, it saved me from reading the rest of your post.


I wish I could have given you a 10 for that but I will have to settle for giving you a five.
VendicarE
5 / 5 (6) Oct 13, 2013
About the Lack of Warming…

http://blog.chron...warming/

rocket77777
1 / 5 (8) Oct 16, 2013
Comet C/2012 S1 is approaching the sun. Breaking might cause extra long winter and stormy summer for tropics and drought for other areas. Breaking will increase area(like cut surface of water melon). This might reduce sun's energy reaching earth or dust might increase cloud.
Neinsense99
3 / 5 (6) Oct 16, 2013
Absolutely serious.

When do we start slitting Denialist throats?

Presumably that would be AFTER the flogging.