[Vision2020] Geological Society in London: Earth will take 100, 000 years to recover from global warming

Ted Moffett starbliss at gmail.com
Fri Nov 5 15:21:46 PDT 2010

Earth will take 100,000 years to recover from global warming if mankind
continues to pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, geologists have

By Louise Gray <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/louise-gray/>,
Environment Correspondent
Published: 6:30AM GMT 02 Nov 2010

120 Comments<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/8102821/Earth-will-take-100000-years-to-recover-from-global-warming-say-geologists.html#disqus_thread>

A conference organised by the Geological Society in London this week will
bring together scientists from around the world to look at how the world
coped with climate change in the past.

By studying rock sediments from millions of years ago geologists have been
able to model how increases in greenhouse gases led to temperature change
and extinction of species.

Professor Jim Zachos, of the University of California, said that 55 million
years ago volcanic activity caused around 4,500 gigatons of greenhouse gases
to be released into the atmosphere over thousands of years.

This caused the planet to warm by 6C (10.8F), forcing whole ecosystems,
including early mammals, to adapt, migrate or die out in certain areas.

Prof Zachos said that if the world continues to pump out greenhouse gases at
the current rate, around 5,000 gigatons of greenhouse gases will be released
into the atmosphere over a few hundred years.

He said this will cause a more rapid temperature rise that at any other time
in history and could cause “mass extinction of species”.

“The impacts will be pretty severe compared to 55 million years ago in terms
of evolution of this planet,” he said.

The Geological Society warned that it could take the Earth 100,000 years to

A statement read: “The geological evidence from the 55 million year event
and from earlier warming episodes suggests that such an addition [a massive
increase in greenhouse gases caused by the activities of mankind] is likely
to raise average global temperatures by at least 5 to 6C, and possibly more,
and that recovery of the Earth’s climate in the absence of mitigation
measures could take 100,000 years or more. Numerical models of the climate
system support such an interpretation. In the light of the evidence
presented here it is reasonable to conclude that emitting further large
amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere over time is likely to be
unwise, uncomfortable though that fact may be.”


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