Ancient Greenhouse Warming

+ See all authors and affiliations

Science  30 Jul 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5428, pp. 637
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5428.637f

An abrupt warming event about 55 million years ago may be one of the closest analogs in Earth's history to current anthropogenic climate change because of its rapidity. It is thought to have been caused by an abrupt release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere or ocean. Bains et al. (p. 724) now provide a close look at the course of this event using two widely separated ocean core sites. The records from these cores show many common features, which implies that the climate response was global. Earth's climate seemed to warm in steps coincident with apparent pulses of greenhouse gas emissions, perhaps from episodic breakdown of methane hydrates on and in the sea floor.

Related Content

Navigate This Article