Studies published by scientists from Rutgers University confirm the link between modern sea level rise and human activities. According to an article in the journal Science Advances, displacement of the Earth’s orbit played a large role in climate change millions of years ago.
However, today scientists overwhelmingly agree that climate change is due to anthropogenic global warming and the release of greenhouse gases.
Climatologists at Rutgers University have found that in the past, the Earth went through an almost ice-free period with carbon dioxide (CO2) levels not much higher than today. Scientists have also discovered ice ages over the past 66 million years, at a time previously considered ice-free. Here is what lead author Kenneth Miller said:
“Our team showed that the history of the Earth’s glaciation was more complex than previously thought. Although carbon dioxide levels had an important effect on ice-free periods, small changes in the Earth’s orbit were the dominant factor in terms of changes in ice volume and sea level up to the present.”
According to the US space agency NASA, cycles can affect the Earth’s climate for “very long periods of time, from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of years. But sea level rise has accelerated in recent decades, and scientists believe that the impact of human activities on climate is to blame.
Modern climate change is explained by the massive emission of greenhouse gases caused by the industrial revolution in the 19th century. Rutgers’ research has reconstructed the history of sea level and the glaciation of the Earth since the end of the dinosaur era – about 66 million years ago.
The study also found that in an ice-free world, sea levels could rise by 66 meters. Scientists estimated the average global sea level based on deep-sea geochemical data.
The study showed that periods of near-iceless state 17 million and 13 million years ago occurred when atmospheric CO2 levels were slightly higher than today.
CO2 is a critical greenhouse gas leading to climate change: in April 2020, atmospheric levels reached 423 ppm. However, research also showed that ice ages occurred when the planet was considered ice-free from 48 million to 34 million years ago.
“We demonstrate that despite the effect of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere on ice-free periods on Earth, changes in ice volume and sea level before human exposure were associated primarily with minor changes in the Earth’s orbit and distance from the Sun.”
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