Paleoclimatologists have found that the Earth’s climate is vulnerable to a sharp rise in temperatures, which occurred earlier in the period of global warming.
Scientists became interested in how periods of sharp warming and cooling of the climate on Earth affected temperature fluctuations in subsequent eras. This is necessary to understand how the current global warming will affect the climate of the planet in the long term.
The authors of the new work collected information about sedimentary rocks that accumulated at the bottom of the world’s oceans in the past several tens of millions of years, and measured the proportions of carbon and oxygen isotopes in their different layers in order to understand at what temperature these deposits appeared.
On the basis of these data, the scientists found out how much the temperatures increased and decreased after each episode of a sharp cooling or warming of the climate, and compared these data with each other.
The northern polar cap may disappear in the coming decades and centuries. Our observations and calculations show that this will make the planet’s climate much more vulnerable to extremely long episodes of sharp temperature rises, the analogues of which we found in the recent geological past of the Earth.
Konstantin Arnscheidt, noted one of the authors of the study,
Based on the results of the work, the authors found that in the past, sharp increases in temperature most often occurred: they increased the likelihood of additional bursts of global warming.
The authors suggest that such undulating climate changes were caused by changes in the nature of the Earth’s orbit and various biological processes, for example, the decomposition of organic matter in thawed permafrost, which provoked previous episodes of temperature increases.
The authors noted that the progression of current global warming will entail a repeat of similar temperature extremes in the future.