For GSS Life and Climate chapter 8. Excerpt: The Paleocene/Eocene thermal maximum (PETM) and associated carbon pulse “are often touted as the best geologic analog for the current” manmade rise in CO2 levels, as a new study notes. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences paper, “Evidence for a rapid release of carbon at the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum,” ...Rutgers geologists Morgan Schaller and James Wright argue that: … following a doubling in carbon dioxide levels, the surface of the ocean turned acidic over a period of weeks or months and global temperatures rose by 5 degrees centigrade – all in the space of about 13 years. [Note from GSS staff: this is likely to be controversial] Scientists ... thought this process happened over 10,000 years. ...Note that if we stay anywhere near our current emissions path, we are headed for a tripling or quadrupling of CO2 concentrations from preindustrial levels. ...the “dean of climate scientists,” Wallace Broecker who popularized the term “global warming” ...decades ago... said, “The climate system is an angry beast, and we are poking at it with sticks.” ...“My point [with the 'angry beast' metaphor] was that by adding large amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere, we were poking our climate system without being sure how it would respond,” he says. At the rate we are spewing carbon pollution into the atmosphere, one might even say we are punching the climate beast in the nose. Paleoclimate studies, including this new one, suggests that is a very, very bad move.... http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/10/08/2750191/petm-co2-levels-doubled-55-million-years-ago-global-temperatures-jumped/. Joe Romm, ThinkProgress.
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