Looking Back 4 Million Years Can Help Us See the Future of Climate Change

As climate change deniers are fond of telling us, the Earth's climate has changed before. About 4 million years ago, during the mid-Pliocene warm period, the level of greenhouse gasses was roughly the same as it is now.

Scientific American breaks down the findings of a new study on what that period can tell us about what we have to look forward to:
"By analyzing the ratio of magnesium and calcium in the shells of microscopic animals found in long cores of mud from the deep ocean, the researchers confirmed this massive oceanic warm pool. At about 28 degrees C, the surface sea temperatures were not much warmer than today’s tropical oceans, but these warm waters covered much more of the global ocean surface.

Although such warm water might sound nice, such warm pools of water have profound weather effects; think of El Nino events in the present and the torrential rains this climate pattern creates in some areas. And a Pliocene-like reduction in temperature differences between polar and mid-latitude regions would have similarly profound effects on everything from the number of tropical cyclones in the Pacific Ocean to which areas are covered by desert in Africa, Australia and North America."

Read the full thing here.

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