Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

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

LIVE ON MONDAY | "Lights, camera, activism!" with Judith Light

Join multiple Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress Judith Light live on Big Think at 2 pm ET on Monday.

Big Think LIVE

Add event to calendar

AppleGoogleOffice 365OutlookOutlook.comYahoo

Keep reading Show less

Scientists see 'rarest event ever recorded' in search for dark matter

The team caught a glimpse of a process that takes 18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.

Image source: Pixabay
Surprising Science
  • In Italy, a team of scientists is using a highly sophisticated detector to hunt for dark matter.
  • The team observed an ultra-rare particle interaction that reveals the half-life of a xenon-124 atom to be 18 sextillion years.
  • The half-life of a process is how long it takes for half of the radioactive nuclei present in a sample to decay.
Keep reading Show less

Space travel could create language unintelligible to people on Earth

A new study looks at what would happen to human language on a long journey to other star systems.

Cylindrical space colony.

Credit: NASA Ames Research Center.
Surprising Science
  • A new study proposes that language could change dramatically on long space voyages.
  • Spacefaring people might lose the ability to understand the people of Earth.
  • This scenario is of particular concern for potential "generation ships".
Keep reading Show less

Your emotions are the new hot commodity — and there’s an app for that

Many of the most popular apps are about self-improvement.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Personal Growth

Emotions are the newest hot commodity, and we can't get enough.

Keep reading Show less
Scroll down to load more…
Quantcast