May 9, 2012

Nature’s Past Experiment?

Filed under: Letters from Ionia — Tags: , , — zankaon @ 8:11 pm

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.(1) There were no massive extinctions comparative to that of Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) period defining the Mesozoic/Cenozoic 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 of the marine and terrestrial extinctions occurred with cooling at the end of Eocene, and into Oligocene epoch.(1) The consequences of the present alleged significant (or short trend?) warming 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. TMM

1. Hallam Tony, Catastrophes and Lesser Calamities Oxford Univ Press 2004, and references therein.

Other sources consulted.

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.


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