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Climate data explained

posted 13 Feb 2010, 22:54 by Toby Roscoe   [ updated 13 Feb 2010, 23:32 ]

The figure above gives us a brief overview of the past 450,000 years of temperature, atmospheric dust and  CO2 (carbon dioxide) data. The data is gathered from analysis of bubbles in ice cores, oxygen isotope ratios of materials in the  stratigraphic record, coupled with other modern geological techniques. For further information on geological aging techniques follow the links below.

                            geological analytical techniques:


                            carbon dating

                            Strontium : Rubidium isotope analysis

                            oxygen isotope ratios

                             ice core analysis

While the temperature of Earth’s climate has fluctuated naturally due to the release of COfrom the Earth’s crust during volcanic eruptions and other forms of venting associated with flood basalts, these changes from cool to hot phases have always been associated with massive reductions in biological diversity, and biomass, on a global scale (see here for more details). The intensity of this biological loss is strongly correlated with the rate and amplitude of the climatic change.

The consensus of the scientific data available today is irrefutable. We are releasing CO2 into the atmosphere at an unsustainable rate. The reason is that these fossil resources were formed over hundreds of millions of years, and yet the release of their stored gasses is taking us only a few decades. 

In returning these lithospheric deposits (stored in the ground) of carbon  to the atmosphere, we are reverting the climate to a composition that has not existed on this planet for over 500,000 years. We are also doing this at a rate unprecedented in history, with unforeseen consequences, on a global scale, of a magnitude beyond human conception. 

It is never too late to act upon these problems, but delaying doing so will undoubtedly raise the final bill. The solution is as simple as reversing the processes by which we have altered the Earth’s systems from their natural state. We must do this by developing environmentally positive, cyclic human systems that provide the resources to society, without compromising prosperity in the future, nor that of any of our fellow organisms, upon which our combined futures may depend.

Article by Toby Roscoe

Fig. 1.