December 26, 2011


Filed under: Letters from Ionia — Tags: — zankaon @ 1:10 am

An experiment of nature on the effect of intense global warming has

already occurred in the Eocene 38-55 million yrs. ago; the so-called

Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM).(1,4) There were no massive

extinctions comparative to that of Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) period

defining the Mezozoic/Cenazocic eras at 65Myrs. At Paleocene-Eocene

divide, paleo-stratigraphic results show that there was deep water

benthic foraminifera mass extinction associated with increased

temperature and hence dysoxic (less oxygenated) waters.(1) But most

marine and terrestrial extinctions occurred with cooling at the end of

Eocene, and into Oligocene epoch.(1) Any consequences of any (?) recent

short warming trend are unknown in regards to extinctions. However

nature already has conducted one experiment in regards to intense global

warming, with seemingly not overwhelming catastrophic results.

An alternative question for the future and for our cognition/imagination

might be as follows: From current habit destruction and hence species

extinction, for say 100,000 years duration; would this be significant

enough to leave a paleo-stratigraphic signature say 1-3 million years

hence? PETM might be considered herein as maximizing for over

approximately 3 Myrs. So for shallow geological time, might the current

extinction times we are inducing, be more likely to leave a signature

(if any?) due more to habit destruction (and ocean degrading

environment?) than to any long term geological stratigraphic

consequences from any possible global warming?  TMM

1. Hallam Tony, Catastrophes and Lesser Calamities Oxford Univ Press,

2004, and references therein.

2. Raup David M., Extinction: Bad Genes or bad Luck?, W.W. Norton, 1991,

and references therein.

3. Stanley Steven M., Extinction, Scientific American Books, 1987, and

references therein.

4. Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. Wikipedia.

some look at things and ask why,
while others dream of things that never were,
and ask why not.
George Barnard Shaw


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