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Conservation Science for a Healthy Planet

Future carbon dioxide, climate warming potentially unprecedented in 420 million years

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Posted: 04 Apr 2017 09:44 AM PDT  full ScienceDaily article here

Over the next 100 to 200 years, carbon dioxide concentrations in the Earth’s atmosphere will head towards values not seen since the Triassic period, 200 million years ago. Furthermore, by the 23rd century, the climate could reach a warmth not seen in 420 million years, say researchers….

…It is well recognised that the climate today is changing at rates well above the geological norm. If humanity fails to tackle rising CO2 and burns all the readily available fossil fuel, by AD 2250 CO2 will be at around 2000 ppm — levels not seen since 200 million years ago.

Professor Foster adds: “However, because the Sun was dimmer back then, the net climate forcing 200 million years ago was lower than we would experience in such a high CO2 future. So not only will the resultant climate change be faster than anything Earth has seen for millions of years, the climate that will exist is likely to have no natural counterpart, as far as we can tell, in at least the last 420 million years.“…

Gavin Foster et al. Future climate forcing potentially without precedent in the last 420 million years. Nature Communications, April 2017 DOI: 10.1038/NCOMMS14845

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