(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists at the University of Southampton have found that the Earth’s climate is about to move several million years into the past. By 2025, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels will have reached a record high over the past 3.3 million years. The reason for this is the activity of mankind. This was reported in an article published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Researchers analyzed the chemical composition of fossils collected from the deep bottom sediments of the Caribbean. The data obtained were used to reconstruct the concentration of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere about three million years ago, during the Pliocene era (from 5.3 to 2.8 million years ago), when the Earth was three degrees warmer than today. Then the polar caps occupied a smaller area, and sea level was higher.
To evaluate the ancient concentration of carbon dioxide, scientists determined the ratio of boron isotopes in the remains of foraminifera shells. The isotopic composition depends on the acidity of sea water, and that, in turn, depends on the carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere.
It turned out that in the warmest period of the Pliocene, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached 380-420 parts per million. This compares with the current value of 415 ppm. This shows that humanity has already reached a level at which significant climate change is occurring. It is estimated that by 2025 the carbon dioxide content will exceed all values over the past three million years. It also means that in the future, levels are likely to reach record levels over the past 15 million years.
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