What Deep Time Can Tell Us About Climate Change
We are now at levels that the world has not seen for the last 40 million years and we will soon be at carbon dioxide levels that existed 100 million years ago when we had a true hot house world.
Peter Ward has been active in Paleontology, Biology, and more recently, Astrobiology for more than 40 years. Since his Ph.D. in 1976, Ward has published more than 140 scientific papers dealing with paleontological, zoological, and astronomical topics.
He is an acknowledged world expert on mass extinctions and the role of extraterrestrial impacts on Earth. Ward was the Principal Investigator of the University of Washington node of the NASA Astrobiology Institute from 2001-2006, and in that capacity led a team of over 40 scientists and students. His career was profiled by the Pulitzer Prize winning reporter William Dietrich in The Seattle Times article "Prophet, Populist, Poet of Science."
Peter has written a memoir of his research on the Nautilus for Nautilus magazine's "Ingenious" feature entitled "Nautilus and me. My wonderful, dangerous life with the amazing Nautilus."
His books include the best-selling "Rare Earth: Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe" (co-author Donald Brownlee, 2000), "Under a Green Sky: Global Warming, the Mass Extinctions of the Past, and What They Can Tell Us About Our Future" (2007), and "The Medea Hypothesis: Is Life on Earth Ultimately Self-Destructive?" (2009).
The earth has certainly gone through a lot of hot times and cold times. What I do is study deep time by looking at Co2 levels and relative temperatures and we are coming out of a cold time and moving into a hot time. However, for this particular time in history, we should be moving back into a cold time.
If we consider the entire ice ages of the last 2 ½ million years, we’ve been in a 10,000 year calm of warmth, and it’s time to go cold again. And yet, it doesn’t seem to be in our cards because of all the carbon dioxide we have put into the system. In fact, we are now at levels that the world has not seen for the last 40 million years and we will soon be at carbon dioxide levels that existed 100 million years ago when we had a true hot house world.
So, the game has been changed.
It may be simpler than we thought.
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Why self-control makes your life better, and how to get more of it.
(Photo by Geem Drake/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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