Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

5/10/2013 (11 months 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.

Article Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/10/2013 (11 months 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'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for April 2014
Ecology and Justice:
That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick: That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.



Comments


More Green

What a difference a millennia makes! Antarctic was at one time like coastal California Watch

Image of It's amazing what a millennia - or two can make on real estate. Two new studies claim that the chilly expanses of Antarctica were at one time very much like coastal California today!

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's amazing what a millennia - or two can make on real estate. Two new studies claim that the chilly expanses of Antarctica were at one time very much like coastal California today! The two new studies are helping scientists determine the effects of long-term ... continue reading


BIOLOGICAL WARFARE? Smog from India, China winds way to U.S., Canada Watch

Image of The smog in Asia, it must be noted is caused by more than just the burning of fossil fuels - it's comprised of nitrogen oxides, methane and other volatile organic compounds that combine to produce ozone.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Ripples in the global pond, half a world away, can have effects all over the globe. Researchers at Texas A&M now say that air pollution originating in both India and China, almost certainly affects global weather patterns, particularly in the United States and ... continue reading


MONSTER El Nino forming in South Pacific, will being devastating weather around the globe in 2014-2015 Watch

Image of We may see a sharp increase in severe weather events for 2014-2015.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to scientists, a massive El Nino is forming in the Pacific and it may be the largest such El Nino ever recorded. If true then the entire planet may experience an uptick in extreme weather events with serious consequences for life and property around the ... continue reading


World must turn to wind and solar to combat global warming, report says Watch

Image of Scientists are optimistic that if renewable energy is quickly rolled out, homes are built in a more sustainable and energy efficient way, and human consumption and wastefulness is changed, climate change can be controlled.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The world must turn to the wind or sun for its energy needs -- or face catastrophic consequences wrought by climate change. That's the news from a recent report from the United Nations on global warming. These devastating effects could take place as early as 15 ... continue reading


Former Indonesian tropical paradise reduced to garbage dump Watch

Image of The water at times turns red, green, yellow and black because of the high concentration of dyes.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As people in China's most air polluted cities cheerfully don face masks, a fisherman on Indonesia's Citarum River has blankly accepted his polluted fate. Once searching for fish, Herman, the name of the fisherman proffered to news reporters says he now looks ... continue reading


THIRD Oarfish sighting in Sea of Cortez stokes earthquake fears Watch

Image of A tour guide lies beside a beached oarfish specimen on the Isla San Francisco in Mexico.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An oarfish has been found washed on an island beach in Mexico, leading to speculation if it is one of the two previously sighted and filmed last month, or if it is in fact a third specimen. If it is a third, it could fuel rumors of an earthquake since anecdotal ... continue reading


Japanese island consumes another in unusual volcanic activity Watch

Image of Two volcanic craters are shown on Niijima on November 22. The island emerged about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) south of Tokyo in the Ogasawara Islands, also known as the Bonin Islands.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In a spate of highly unusual volcanic activity, one Japanese island has merged with another nearby island. Niijima Island, a volcano which broke through the ocean's surface last November, has now merged with a nearby island that formed from a volcano which last ... continue reading


Are these oarfish in Mexico predicting an earthquake? Tourists film TWO live oarfish trying to beach themselves Watch

Image of Oarfish are legendary harbingers of earthquakes.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An amazing new video shows two oarfish swimming just offshore in Mexico to the delight of ecotourists on a kayaking tour. The video, taken last March, shows the pair of fish possibly about to beach themselves. Oarfish are rarely sighted and legend associates their ... continue reading


MASS EXTINCTION: All life on Earth went extinct 252 million years ago Watch

Image of The Permian-Triassic extinction has been defined as a natural event that heated up the Earth's biological systems.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Nearly all life on Earth became extinct 252 million years ago. According to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT scientists, the culprit was not an asteroid striking the planet, but a methane-spewing microbe. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Daniel ... continue reading


Bison, elk appear to be fleeing Yellowstone. Is supervolcano eruption eminent? Watch

Image of A supervolcano under Yellowstone could cause mass extinctions if it erupted.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Talk of a supervolcano eruption in Yellowstone National Park has hit the blogosphere after several people have posted videos of animals fleeing the sanctuary. A supervolcano eruption would destroy everything for hundreds of miles around and would plunge the planet into ... 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 3:11-26
11 Everyone came running towards them in great ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 8:2, 5, 6-7, 8-9
2 even through the mouths of children, or of babes in ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 24:35-48
35 Then they told their story of what had happened on ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 24th, 2014 Image

St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen
April 24: Franciscan Capuchin martyr. He was born Mark Rey is Sigmaringen, ... 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