What Global Warming of the Past Tells Us About the Future
A large asteroid hit us in the Yucatan Peninsula causing the mass extinction. Was the impact just the coup de grace coming on an already affected world?
Our Antarctic work is to look at the nature of global temperatures at the end of the Crustaceous Period. Crustaceous ended 65 million years ago when a large asteroid hit us in the Yucatan Peninsula causing the mass extinction. But we’re trying to see what happened in the 10 million years prior to that because we know at that time there was a gigantic volcanic event in India. These are a big flood basalts they’re called. It’s not a single point source volcano, but imagine enormous areas of the Earth, creeping lava coming out of the cracks and flowing slowly all around scaring dinosaurs to death, probably running in front of this stuff. It probably also killed a few dinosaurs, but what it did do was vent an enormous quantity of volcanic carbon dioxide and other gasses into the atmosphere.
We wanted to know if there was any precursor to the impact. Was the impact just the coup de grace coming on an already affected world? That does seem to be the case. The best place to understand anything about global warming isn’t at the tropics. That’s where temperatures change the least. It’s at the poles where you have the greatest absolute change. So, we found a ten degrees centigrade change from colder to warmer in the last two to three million years prior to the impact itself. The place really did warm up, and fast, from a lot of Co2 in the atmosphere. Now, there’s obviously parallels to what’s going on in the world today.
In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
A new study explores how certain personality traits affect individuals' attitudes on obesity in others.
- The study compared personality traits and obesity views among more than 3,000 mothers.
- The results showed that the personality traits neuroticism and extraversion are linked to more negative views and behaviors related to obesity.
- People who scored high in conscientiousness are more likely to experience "fat phobia.
Meanwhile, Spaniards are the least likely to say their culture is superior to others.
- Survey by Pew Research Center shows great variation in chauvinism across Europe.
- Eight most chauvinist countries are in the east, and include Russia.
- British much more likely than French (and slightly more likely than Germans) to say their culture is "superior" to others.
The history of the Geneva Conventions tells us how the international community draws the line on brutality.
- Henry Dunant's work led to the Red Cross and conventions on treating prisoners humanely.
- Four Geneva Conventions defined the rules for prisoners of war, torture, naval and medical personnel and more.
- Amendments to the agreements reflect the modern world but have not been ratified by all countries.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.