Carbon dioxide levels highest in 3 million years, shows unprecedented computer simulation

More CO2 than ever before in 3 million years, shows unprecedented computer simulation
Maximum ice sheet thickness and extent before the mid-Pleistocene transition. Credit: M. Willeit

CO2 greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere are likely higher today than ever before in the past 3 million years. During this time, global mean temperatures never exceeded preindustrial levels by more than 2 degrees C. The study is based on breakthrough computer simulations of ice age onset in Earth's past climate.

For the first time, a team of scientists succeeded in using a computer that fits ocean floor sediment data of evolution over this period of time. Ice age onset, hence the start of the glacial cycles from cold to warm and back, the study reveals, was mainly triggered by a decrease of CO2 levels. Yet today, it is the increase of due to the burning of fossil fuels that is fundamentally changing our planet, the analysis further confirms. Global mean temperatures never exceeded the preindustrial levels by more than 2 degrees Celsius in the past 3 million years, the study shows—while current climate policy inaction, if continued, would exceed the 2 degrees limit already in the next 50 years.

Changes in CO2 levels were a main driver of the ice ages

"We know from the analysis of sediments on the bottom of our seas about past ocean temperatures and ice volumes, but so far the role of CO2 changes in shaping the glacial cycles has not been fully understood," says Matteo Willeit of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, lead author of the study now published in Science Advances. "It is a breakthrough that we can now show in that changes in CO2 levels were a main driver of the ice ages, together with variations of how the Earth's orbits around the sun, the so-called Milankovitch cycles. These are actually not just simulations: we compared our results with the hard data from the deep sea, and they prove to be in good agreement. Our results imply a strong sensitivity of the Earth system to relatively small variations in atmospheric CO2. As fascinating as this is, it is also worrying."

Studying Earth's past and its natural climate variability is key to understanding possible future pathways of humanity. "It seems we're now pushing our home planet beyond any climatic conditions experienced during the entire current geological period, the Quaternary," says Willeit. "A period that started almost 3 million years ago and saw human civilization beginning only 11,000 years ago. So, the modern climate change we see is big, really big; even by standards of Earth history."

More CO2 than ever before in 3 million years, shows unprecedented computer simulation
Maximum ice sheet thickness and extent after the mid-Pleistocene transition. Credit: M. Willeit

Learning from Earth's past to understand the future

Building on previous research at PIK, the researchers reproduced the main features of natural climate variability over the last few million years with an efficient numerical model—a computer simulation based on astronomical and geological data and algorithms representing the physics and chemistry of our planet. The simulation was driven only by well-known changes in the ways the Earth circles the sun, the so-called orbital cycles, and different scenarios for slowly varying boundary conditions, namely CO2 outgassing from volcanoes. The study also lookedt into changes in sediment distribution of the Earth surface, since ice sheets slide more easily on gravel than on bedrock. It has also accounted for the role of atmospheric dust, which makes the ice surface darker and thereby contributes to melting.

"The fact that the model can reproduce the main features of the observed climate history gives us confidence in our general understanding of how the climate system works," says co-author Andrey Ganopolski, author of several previous groundbreaking studies the new analysis now builds upon. "The simulations we develop have to be simple enough to allow for thousands of calculation runs of many thousands of years, and yet have to capture the critical factors that drive our climate. This is what we have achieved. And it is confirming how outstandingly important changes in CO2 levels are for Earth's climate."


Explore further

A warm climate is more sensitive to changes in atmospheric CO2

More information: M. Willeit el al., "Mid-Pleistocene transition in glacial cycles explained by declining CO2 and regolith removal," Science Advances (2019). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aav7337 , http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/4/eaav7337
Journal information: Science Advances

Citation: Carbon dioxide levels highest in 3 million years, shows unprecedented computer simulation (2019, April 4) retrieved 15 October 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-04-carbon-dioxide-highest-million-years.html
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Apr 04, 2019
Two degrees centigrade. The sky is falling!

Apr 04, 2019
@grandpa.
Two degrees centigrade. The sky is falling!
If you lived in Queensland, Northern Territory, Western Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania, The Capital Territory and on the Great Barrier Reef here in OZ, then that's exactly what's been happening, mate. Not to mention the extreme fires, droughts, destructive winds, diseases and costs of damage to infrastructure, wildlife, livestock and health/insurance premiums being irrecoverable from before the next 'sky-falling' disaster strikes due to the AGW trending ever worse. Stop being one of PUTIN's 'weaponised stupids' trying to divide America and delaying climate action in order to protect PUTIN's fossil fuel exports money-earner. Good luck to us all.

Apr 04, 2019
@ RC

ты - идиот


Apr 04, 2019
''while current climate policy inaction, if continued, would exceed the 2 degrees limit already in the next 50 years.''

any climate policy short of mass murder will do nothing and would not be measurable in any case

Apr 04, 2019
@snoosebaum.
any climate policy short of mass murder will do nothing and would not be measurable in any case
Renewables and storage and distributed (domestic/commercial) solar/wind is already making a difference and you (Putin's) 'weaponised stupids' are being played by Putin to divide America and delay action on climate which would cost Putin a lot by way of hard currency earnings losses from lowered fossil fuel exports. You're the, and I quote you,
ты - идиот
...here, mate. :)

Apr 04, 2019
Changes in CO2 levels were a main driver of the ice ages


Utter horse crap. No mention at all of Earth's angle of inclination relative to the Sun.

Apr 04, 2019
Might be easier and cheaper to just adapt to it...

Apr 04, 2019
''Renewables and storage and distributed (domestic/commercial) solar/wind is already making a difference and you (Putin's) 'weaponised stupids' are being played by Putin to divide America and delay action on climate which would cost Putin a lot by way of hard currency earnings losses from lowered fossil fuel exports. ''
lomborg;
https://www.youtu...CjrIy3Ss

so how'd that russia thing in the USA work out for ya , lol keep it up, confirms your loonatune status


Apr 04, 2019
AGW Cult Bullshit levels highest in 3 years, shows unprecedented AGW Cult "science"...er...excuse me..dogma.

Apr 04, 2019
@snoosebaum.
so how'd that russia thing in the USA work out for ya , lol keep it up, confirms your loonatune status
Are you referring to all those conmen and agents around Trump and his campaign who have been proven criminal and sent to jail, mate? Even you couldn't be so naive/stupid as to believe Trump and his family are innocent of all that skullduggery which Russia/Putin orchestrated/funded; including the exposed Russian Troll-factory addresses which was KGB facilities and making accounts on social media sites to dupe his American GOP/Fossil lobby 'weaponised stupids' to do his dirty work? Did you mean all THAT "russia thing", snooze? :)

Apr 04, 2019
All reinforcing the fact that we need to kick out governments that aren't doing anything.

Apr 04, 2019
@grandpa.
Two degrees centigrade. The sky is falling!
If you lived in Queensland, Northern Territory, Western Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania, The Capital Territory and on the Great Barrier Reef here in OZ, then that's exactly what's been happening, mate. Not to mention the extreme fires, droughts, destructive winds, diseases and costs of damage to infrastructure, wildlife, livestock and health/insurance premiums being irrecoverable from before the next 'sky-falling' disaster strikes due to the AGW trending ever worse. Stop being one of PUTIN's 'weaponised stupids' trying to divide America and delaying climate action in order to protect PUTIN's fossil fuel exports money-earner. Good luck to us all.
In this article, it says global life expectancy has gone up 5 years in the last 19 years. All this while global climate has caused Armageddon already. https://medicalxp...ars.html

Apr 04, 2019
PUTIN's 'weaponised stupids'


You are truly insane to connect Putin to climate science comments.

Apr 04, 2019
Note the correlation between global life expectancy and global carbon dioxide levels.

https://ourworldi...70..2015 and
https://zfacts.com/p/194.html

Far from causing disaster carbon dioxide levels are highly correlated with prosperity and better living. If we attack cheap energy, we attack everything that made this world a much better place to live.

Apr 04, 2019
HA HA HA ! , u done it now mate , total Fing nut job [ and impartial !! he he ]

''Are you referring to all those conmen and agents around Trump and his campaign who have been proven criminal and sent to jail, mate? Even you couldn't be so naive/stupid as to believe Trump and his family are innocent of all that skullduggery which Russia/Putin orchestrated/funded; including the exposed Russian Troll-factory addresses which was KGB facilities and making accounts on social media sites to dupe his American GOP/Fossil lobby 'weaponised stupids' to do his dirty work? Did you mean all THAT "russia thing", snooze? :)''

bloody great ,,

Apr 04, 2019
Oh, the comedy of the AGW Cult.
It's beyond funny that they go all the way back to 3 million years ago, when they must constantly keep cooking the data from the last century, and still their models fail.
LMAO

Apr 04, 2019
Climate denier goon squad stuff. But a bunch of crap. I'm always stunned at how climate deniers can try to be such weasels of Science and this article is certainly fitting of that title! So fundamentally what they're saying is that mud at the bottom of the ocean has been utilized to determine the temperature correlation going back a million years I call BS on that stuff. I can see that in rock formations in geological history etc and it does not correlate with what these guys are saying! So you guys are just full of crap! You did not goon squads just love to pile on a bunch of crap and try to be oh so politically correct. You buttheads.

I really do wish the climate denier types would just get a goddamn solar panel and stick it on your roof. Make it easier on me to be more friendly.

Apr 04, 2019
Oh the comedy of the climate deniers! There you go again Al-goreacle.

Apr 04, 2019
'' they're saying is that mud at the bottom of the ocean has been utilized to determine ''

no they are saying '' we used a black box computer model'

also
''slowly varying boundary conditions, namely CO2 outgassing from volcanoes. The study also lookedt into changes in sediment distribution of the Earth surface, since ice sheets slide more easily on gravel than on bedrock. It has also accounted for the role of atmospheric dust, which makes the ice surface darker and thereby contributes to melting.''

hmm, so they know in detail all the movements of all the glaciers over gravel or bedrock [ that works all the time eh? ] over 3 million yrs ,, right. And they add in some hypothetical co2 emissions

and ''"We know from the analysis of sediments on the bottom of our seas about past ocean temperatures and ice volumes,''

all of them?

Apr 04, 2019
Climate denier


They don't deny that glacier in Greenland is getting larger. Do you?

Apr 05, 2019
@grandpa.
In this article, it says global life expectancy has gone up 5 years in the last 19 years. All this while global climate has caused Armageddon already. https://medicalxp...ars.html
And better medicine, vaccinations against diseases, sanitation, hospitals, housing and social security etc etc had nothing to do with it, hey? Get real, mate; whatever the benefits of cheap but polluting fossil fuels did for civilisation it's now killing not only that civilisation but the ecosystems and tolerable prevailing climate patterns on which civilisation depended for millennia. We are now in transition from tolerable to deadly climate patterns. Sure, the sugar fix was good, until it's now becoming too much and is starting the transition to more extreme disaster. Have you no common sense at all, grandpa? Have you no thought for your descendants who will later have to pay for your stupidity now? Wise up; fo your grandkids' sake if not your own.

Apr 05, 2019
@Old_C-Code.
PUTIN's 'weaponised stupids'
You are truly insane to connect Putin to climate science comments.
Apparently you missed that reporter's exposure of Putin's clandestine (before exposure) troll-factory operatives who opened accounts in US sites and created a lot of fake 'science' claims against climate science and also spread false 'facts' about Trump's opponents during the election. If you are so uninformed and naive about what is already widely known about Putin's agenda against America and against climate action, then you should keep your mouth shut else you will be seen to be one of Putin's American/other 'weaponised stupids' which he and his KGB have been playing for fools. Wise up, mate.

Apr 05, 2019
@snoosebaum.
Are you referring to all those conmen and agents around Trump and his campaign who have been proven criminal and sent to jail, mate? Even you couldn't be so naive/stupid as to believe Trump and his family are innocent of all that skullduggery which Russia/Putin orchestrated/funded; including the exposed Russian Troll-factory addresses which was KGB facilities and making accounts on social media sites to dupe his American GOP/Fossil lobby 'weaponised stupids' to do his dirty work? Did you mean all THAT "russia thing", snooze? :)
HA HA HA ! , u done it now mate , total Fing nut job [ and impartial !! he he ] bloody great ,,
So, snooze, you couldn't deny it, so you just make silly noises and pretend the reality isn't the reality as recorded by the courts that sent Trump's co-conspirators to jail. Lame, mate. :)

Apr 05, 2019
Reality ? thats a long reach for u sport lol !

Apr 05, 2019
@snoose.
Reality ? thats a long reach for u sport lol !
Looks like your thumb is getting tired and sore pressing on that phone, mate. Or maybe it's that you're running out of ways to deny reality. Take a break and go collect your troll-money from your Russian troll-factory paymaster, mate, before their troll-funding runs out! Good luck. :)

Apr 06, 2019
"Carbon dioxide levels highest in 3 million years..."
"...140 Gigawatts of Solar and Wind Capacity Installed Globally in 2018..."
at cost of hundreds of billions of dollars and huge ecological impacts/environmental damages with almost nothing to show at reducing emissions.
"The ones that went with nuclear and hydro decarbonized. The ones that went with wind and solar failed and keep failing."
"While nuclear and hydro are strongly correlated with decarbonization of energy at aggregated national levels, solar and wind are not."
https://pbs.twimg...1tl_.jpg

Apr 06, 2019
More detail by Willeit himself here: http://www.realcl...-change/ . Note the very nice tracking of the model and the change in cycle period, now explained, in the graphs!

So according to the block filter there is just one science comment among the anti-science brigade!? I assume they are telling us it is not happening, if it is happening it is not our fault, if it is our fault we cannot do anything about it, and if we can do something about it it is too expensive to do anything. What is it, don't you see that you cannot agree with each other is because you cannot agree with the facts?

And the facts says you are wrong. It is cheaper to do something and we can do it. I just read that we currently have 100 million starving, of those 3/4 is because of remaining wars and 1/4 is because of accelerating man made warning, Are you really wanting to tell your children that?

Apr 07, 2019
@ RC

ты - идиот



We already established that about you decades ago, You cannot seem to stop Snoozing then right after that Losing

Apr 07, 2019
Changes in CO2 levels were a main driver of the ice ages


Utter horse crap. No mention at all of Earth's angle of inclination relative to the Sun.


Old Fart C showing his incompetence beyond stupidity in every possible way, understanding climate science was never his strong point... but then again, what is ?

Apr 07, 2019
Oh, the comedy of the AGW Cult.
It's beyond funny that they go all the way back to 3 million years ago, when they must constantly keep cooking the data from the last century, and still their models fail.
LMAO


The only thing cooking is the lone Pea inside your head, that has been established for decades now, as for climate science, we leave it to those who know how it works ;)

Apr 07, 2019
So, snooze, you couldn't deny it, so you just make silly noises and pretend the reality isn't the reality as recorded by the courts that sent Trump's co-conspirators to jail. Lame, mate. :)

Thats the usual response from an antigoracle sockpuppet(snooselose), once the lone pea in his hollow skull gets over exited it resorts to tree swinging, chest thumping and mad barking... nothing new

Apr 07, 2019
@snoose.
Reality ? thats a long reach for u sport lol !
Looks like your thumb is getting tired and sore pressing on that phone, mate. Or maybe it's that you're running out of ways to deny reality. Take a break and go collect your troll-money from your Russian troll-factory paymaster, mate, before their troll-funding runs out! Good luck. :)
RFMLOA This total Bonehead (SnooseLose) really stupefying himself beyond belief...Again

Apr 07, 2019
history ; UN PREDICTS DISASTER 1989

https://wattsupwi...cked.pdf

howd that work out ?

Apr 07, 2019
Just fine, there are endless of explanations but not on a level that you could possibly understand. Decades of Evidence for Human Caused Climate Change, obviously still didn't stick to that pea inside your skull, but at least i have an explanation for you , the pea is so small inside the skull, all the turbulent air flowing around it blows all the common says right out your nose. Then it happens all over again, Snooze, Snoozes and loses.

Apr 07, 2019
helogreene , U R completely right , here is a list of what global warming has done

http://www.whatre...ng2.html

and i bet u can add this !
https://philadelp...9iMIbiKA

Apr 10, 2019
@grandpa

Two degrees centigrade. The sky is falling!

Cheap Energy and Efficient Market Economies has led to the greatest Improvement in the Standard of Living the World has ever known. However grandpa the side effect of Huge Fossil fuels use will be a minimum of 2c average increase in global Temperature and a continuous Melting of the IceCaps in Polar Regions Raising Sea Levels 2 plus meters over the next Hundred years and making most of our coastal city's unlivable, costing Hundreds of Trillions of Dollars in Loses. It's cheaper to go off Fossil Fuels now than pay the price in the future.

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