MessageToEagle.com - Climate change on pace to occur 10 times faster than any change recorded in
past 65 million years, Stanford scientists say.
Without intervention, this extreme pace could lead to a 5-6 degree Celsius spike in annual temperatures
by the end of the century.
But what might be even more troubling for humans, plants and animals is the speed of the change.
Stanford climate scientists - Noah Diffenbaugh, an associate professor of environmental Earth system science,
and Chris Field, a professor of biology and of environmental Earth system science and the director of the
Department of Global Ecology at the Carnegie Institution - warn that the likely rate of change over the next
century will be at least 10 times quicker than any climate shift in the past 65 million years.
The top map shows global temperatures in the late 21st century, based on current warming trends. The bottom map illustrates the velocity of
climate change, or how far species in any given area will need to migrate by the end of the 21st century to
experience climate similar to present. Courtesy of Stanford University
If the trend continues at its current rapid pace, it will place significant stress on terrestrial ecosystems
around the world.
The planet experienced a 5 degree Celsius hike in temperature 20,000 years ago, as Earth emerged from the last ice age.
This is a change comparable to the high-end of the projections for warming over the 20th and 21st centuries.
The geologic record shows that, 20,000 years ago, as the ice sheet that covered much of North America receded
northward, plants and animals recolonized areas that had been under ice.
As the climate continued to warm, those plants and animals moved northward, to cooler climes.
"We know from past changes that ecosystems have responded to a few degrees of global temperature change
over thousands of years," said Diffenbaugh.
"But the unprecedented trajectory that we're on now is forcing that change to occur over decades. That's
orders of magnitude faster, and we're already seeing that some species are challenged by that rate of change."
Image Credit: Stepan Kapl / Shutterstock
Some of the strongest evidence for how the global climate system responds to high levels of carbon dioxide comes
from paleoclimate studies.
Fifty-five million years ago, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was elevated to a level comparable to today.
The Arctic Ocean did not have ice in the summer, and nearby land was warm enough to support alligators and
"There are two key differences for ecosystems in the coming decades compared with the geologic past,"
"One is the rapid pace of modern climate change. The other is that today there are multiple human stressors
that were not present 55 million years ago, such as urbanization and air and water pollution."
Scientists say that extreme weather events, such as heat waves and heavy rainfall, are expected to become
more severe and more frequent.
By the end of the century, should the current emissions of greenhouse gases remain unchecked, temperatures
over the northern hemisphere will tip 5-6 degrees C warmer than today's averages. In this case, the hottest
summer of the last 20 years becomes the new annual norm.
"It's not easy to intuit the exact impact from annual temperatures warming by 6 C," Diffenbaugh said.
"But this would present a novel climate for most land areas. Given the impacts those kinds of seasons
currently have on terrestrial forests, agriculture and human health, we'll likely see substantial stress
from severely hot conditions."
Humans have already emitted greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and the atmosphere and oceans have
already been heated.
"If every new power plant or factory in the world produced zero emissions, we'd still see impact from
the existing infrastructure, and from gases already released," Diffenbaugh said.
The research is published in the current issue of Science.
Lake In France Turns Red
This year, we have encountered the color red in places where we don't expect to see it. A while back the strange appearance
of Azov Sea stunned residents who saw how the water had turned red. The red rocks in China have also puzzled scientists for a long time.
Now, a lake in Southern France has also suddenly turned red.
An Incredible Geological Phenomena
Earth is an amazing planet and our nature is full of wonders. We have previously written about incredible singing plants.
This time we would like to focus our readers' attention on another amazing geological phenomena, namely so-called growing stones.
It is difficult to image that stones can really grow, but these stones seem to be alive!
Yangtze River In China Turns Red
We have seen on a couple of occassions how lakes and seas have suddenly turned red.
In August a lake in Southern France unexpectedly changed color and shortly before that the strange appearance of
Azov Sea stunned residents who saw how the water had turned red....