Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

5/10/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

It's just a number, right?

New research suggests the planet is heating up, possibly to a level it last saw 3.6 million years ago during the middle Pliocene. This announcement comes as scientists announce that CO2 levels have now reached 400 parts per million, a symbolic threshold.

Trees will certainly benefit from the CO2.

Trees will certainly benefit from the CO2.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/10/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Carbon dioxide, pollution, global warming, greenhouse, gasses, climate change


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The last time the planet had this much CO2 in the atmosphere was 3.6 million years ago during the middle Pliocene era. The planet was free of arctic ice and trees grew in the across the region.

Sediment cores taken from the Russian lake El'gygytgyn reveal fossil pollen in the lake from Douglas firs and hemlock, suggesting the icy area was once covered with trees some 3.6 million years ago when it was much warmer than today.

A team of international researchers brought the cores up in 2009 and the study was co-authored by researchers Julie Brigham-Grette and Pavel Minyuk. Their findings help confirm the belief that the arctic was once a lush location.

Such is the world we might expect to see if global warming is happening. Indeed, satellite data also suggest the tundra is defrosting and green vegetation is creeping north as the snow and ice retreat.

This raises two questions, which are commonly asked.

First, if the planet has been so warm before, what's to say the current warming trend isn't natural? And second, if the planet has survived such temperatures before, then why the alarm?

Despite the seemingly benign effects of warming, climate researchers fear that the planet is warming much more quickly that it would if the warming were natural in origin. This rapid warming harshly impacts both natural habitats and human societies.

Humans are unquestionably introducing more CO2 into the atmosphere than would enter it by natural means, with the understood exception of singular, distinct events such as major volcanic eruptions. This input is a natural consequence of human mass consumption of natural resources. According to most climatologists, this extra CO2 is driving the recent warming trend, which the planet has noticeably experienced over the past several decades.

This warming trend is manifesting itself in various ways, including the loss of arctic ice, the spread of greenery into arctic regions, and the rise of sea levels. Although aggregate temperature changes appear to have increased more slowly than feared during past decade, scientists believe this slowdown is only because the planet is absorbing additional heat in the oceans. This only grants a temporary reprieve from the accelerated warming of the recent past.

Although the loss of Arctic ice and the greening of the north isn't likely to be fatal to humanity, it is likely to be very disruptive. Natural selection, which is the means by which organisms adapt to changes in their environment, cannot keep pace with the rapid speed of today's environmental changes. This is leading to major extinctions and loss of wildlife that would otherwise have much more time to adapt.

Human societies are also facing disruption as sea levels rise.

Regardless of the facts of the case, and regardless of what happens next, humanity will survive this transition just as it has survived similar major environmental shifts in the past. Humanity survived the last ice age, the desertification of the Sahara and the Fertile Crescent, and it will survive this. But how well it copes remains to be seen. Great environmental shifts also brought disasters which collapsed the earliest civilizations. It remains to be seen if our technologically sophisticated, massively integrated, and curiously fragile modern civilization can survive the coming changes before us.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2015
Universal:
That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Green

Scientists make odd discovery: Earliest snakes had feet and ankles Watch

Image of The earliest ancestors of snakes may have retained feet and ankles as late as 20 million years ago.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new study published in the science journal BMC Evolutionary Biology has revealed a startling fact about the ancestors of modern snakes, suggesting that the reptiles may have evolved from creatures that had feet and ankles around 128 million years ago on the ... continue reading


Unexpected find in Washington may be last of its kind Watch

Image of This is the group of dinosaurs the Tyrannosaurus Rex is associated with.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

When an inter-tidal rock was found in the Sucia Island State Park in Washington State back in 2012, its discoverers had no idea that it would create or cause such excitement and hype. Embedded in the rock is a 17-inch bone fragment, that could not be immediately ... continue reading


DEVASTATING photos show humanity's destruction of Planet Earth Watch

Image of This bird ate too much plastic trash and died, revealing its unnatural diet upon decomposition.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Humanity's rapid expansion as the global population increases is taking its toll on the environment. Climate change, overpopulation, pollution, hunting of endangered species and strip mining are running rampant worldwide. A series of shocking photographs now ... continue reading


TOO SOON? Canonization of Mother Teresa next year only hypothetical, Vatican says Watch

Image of There had been reports in the Italian press that Mother Teresa, the founder of the Missionaries of Charity, who worked among the poorest of the poor, would be canonized before the end of the upcoming Holy Year of Mercy.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In spite of various published reports that Blessed Teresa of Kolkata will be canonized on September 4, 2016, the Vatican says that this remains hypothetical. "It is a working hypothesis, therefore there is no official confirmation to be given," Vatican representative ... continue reading


2020: Antarctic ice shelf could collapse Watch

Image of Land-based glaciers that have also started to slide faster toward the sea.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The rich get richer, the poor get poorer and those polar ice caps keep right on melting. Things have deteriorated so badly - especially the Larsen B ice shelf, that scientist now fear the entire Antarctica ice shelf will collapse by the end of this decade, in ... continue reading


Raining spiders? Large areas of Australia covered in spider webs Watch

Image of Baby spiders

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The worst news for spider haters in Australia and around the globe: a natural migration phenomenon where baby spiders are flying is possible and has recently happened in the southern part of Australia. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Referred to as "Angel ... continue reading


HONEY HOLOCAUST: Forty percent of all beehives died in the past year Watch

Image of Oklahoma, Illinois, Iowa, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Maine and Wisconsin all saw more than 60 percent of their hives die since April of last year.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It is an alarming figure that may speak of a silent, ecological disaster. According to a federal study, more than two out of five American honeybee colonies died in the past year. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The survey reports that the worst die-off ... continue reading


Recreating Dinosaurs: Using chicken embryos, scientists learn how dinosaurs got 'snouts' Watch

Image of The team's aim was to understand how the bird beak evolved, because the beak is such a vital part of bird anatomy.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An asteroid, crashing into the Earth 65 million years ago, is thought to have caused the dinosaurs to go extinct. A group of dinosaurs managed to survive, and is thought to have evolved into modern-day birds. That theory has been around since the 19th Century. ... continue reading


Catfish surprisingly climbs wall and stuns scientists Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Inside a cave near Tena in Ecuador, a group of scientists filmed a catfish climbing up the wall to lick food from the roof. Climbing seems impossible for fishes, but evidence of an actual video showing an armored catfish making its way up the cave wall presents a new ... continue reading


Climate change to cause animal extinction in next century Watch

Image of New Zealand's tuataras will be one of the species affected by climate change.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In the next century or so, one in six species of plants and animals are likely to be extinct in South America, New Zealand, and Australia. Species in North America are at a lower risk of being extinct. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - According to a study ... continue reading


All Green News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 2:1-11
1 When Pentecost day came round, they had all met ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34
1 Bless Yahweh, my soul, Yahweh, my God, how great ... Read More

Gospel, John 20:19-23
19 In the evening of that same day, the first day of ... Read More

Reading 2, First Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13
3 Because of that, I want to make it quite clear to ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 24th, 2015 Image

St. David I of Scotland
May 24: David, the youngest son of Scotlandís virtuous queen, (Saint) ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter