Exreme warming event linked to bad case of gas
If you think we are feeling the full effects of global warming today, then think again. The predicted rise of up to three degrees in the next century is just a taster of might come once runaway climate change takes hold. To see how bad things can become we need to go back 55million years.
Just 10million years after the demise of the dinosaurs, one of the most dramatic global warming events in the planet’s history took place.
Over the course of just a few thousand years, temperatures increased by as much as 10°C and the Arctic basked in subtropical temperatures – sea surface temperatures increased to about 23°C (the current average is -1.5°C) Sea levels rose by tens of metres and the world’s oceans became so acidic that many marine species died out. In some areas, the deep oceans lost their ability to hold oxygen, making life impossible, and even the circulation patterns of the oceans were reversed, meaning that warm water was carried to poles rather than away – a situation that increased global warming and took some 40,000 years to right itself. Meanwhile, on land, thousands of species of the primitive mammals that had risen to replace the dinosaurs died out as they failed to adapt to the soaring temperatures.