Warning: INSERT command denied to user 'dbo256360593'@'' for table 'watchdog' query: INSERT INTO watchdog (uid, type, message, variables, severity, link, location, referer, hostname, timestamp) VALUES (0, 'php', '%message in %file on line %line.', 'a:4:{s:6:\"%error\";s:12:\"user warning\";s:8:\"%message\";s:403:\"INSERT command denied to user 'dbo256360593'@'' for table 'captcha_sessions'\nquery: INSERT into captcha_sessions (uid, sid, ip_address, timestamp, form_id, solution, status, attempts) VALUES (0, '19f87f1b8e3e7d5082c9580d5d97fd3a', '', 1586509277, 'user_login_block', 'e3c2ec3183769b980fa4c7bff3010608', 0, 0)\";s:5:\"%file\";s:88:\"/homepages/45/d175009339/htdocs/tahoetowhitney.org/sites/all/modules/captcha/captcha.inc\";s:5 in /homepages/45/d175009339/htdocs/tahoetowhitney.org/includes/database.mysqli.inc on line 134
Study of Ancient PETM Climate Suggests Increasing CO2 Sensivity could Accelerate Warming

Study of Ancient PETM Climate Suggests Increasing CO2 Sensivity could Accelerate Warming

Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 25 September 2019



We've Got to Look Deep into the Past to Find Equal Magnitudes of Change to Put Ourselves into Our Proper Historical Perspective

Study of Ancient Climate Suggests Future Warming could Accelerate,
News Network Archaeology, September 18, 2019.


Lessons of the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum

"The Early Eocene (roughly 48 million to 56 million years ago) was the warmest period of the past 66 million years. It began with the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, which is known as the PETM, the most severe of several short, intensely warm events." more

Geo Time Scales, Wiki.

"The Early Eocene was a time of elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and surface temperatures at least 14 degrees Celsius (25 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer, on average, than today. Also, the difference between temperatures at the equator and the poles was much smaller."

Then & Now
"...carbon dioxide levels reached 1,000 parts per million in the Early Eocene, more than twice the present-day level of 412 ppm. If nothing is done to limit carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, CO2 levels could once again reach 1,000 ppm by the year 2100."

Broken PETM Models
"...climate models have been unable to simulate the extreme surface warmth of the Early Eocene--including the sudden and dramatic temperature spikes of the PETM--by relying solely on atmospheric CO2 levels."

First Successful PETM Model
"...successfully simulate--for the first time--the extreme warming of the Early Eocene Period, which is considered an analog for Earth's future climate."

Increasing CO2 Sensivity Detected
More Heating with Less CO2

"...the climate of the Early Eocene became increasingly sensitive to additional carbon dioxide as the planet warmed."

The Bad News
"It is a scary finding because it indicates that the temperature response to an increase in carbon dioxide in the future might be larger than the response to the same increase in CO2 now. This is not good news for us."

The "Good" News
"The sensitivity we're inferring for the Eocene is indeed very high, though it's unlikely that climate sensitivity will reach Eocene levels in our lifetimes."

New Model
With Cloud Processes
"...the large increase in climate sensitivity they observed--which had not been seen in previous attempts to simulate the Early Eocene using similar amounts of carbon dioxide--is likely due to an improved representation of cloud processes in the climate model they used, the Community Earth System Model version 1.2, or CESM1.2."

"...the CESM1.2 model was able to simulate both the warm conditions and the low equator-to-pole temperature gradient seen in the geological records."

Same Processes Operational Today
"The same cloud processes responsible for increased climate sensitivity in the Eocene simulations are active today."


The factor why this new model is more accurate:

March 2019
High CO2 Levels can Destabilize Marine Layer Clouds


(The Latest PETM Research as of this date...)


Archaeological Climatology
Middle Miocene, PETM, Chicxulub, Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event (T-OAE), Permian Extinction, Lau/Kozlowskii Extinction Event, & Supernova Activity...

Geological Time Scales, US Geo Society.

Geo Time Scales, Wiki.


The Last Time it was This Hot

The Middle Miocene
16 Million Years Ago



Why these Past Events, and Especially the PETM, are Important

The past puts the present into proper perspective

Around 55.5 Million Years Ago
"The Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), alternatively "Eocene thermal maximum 1" (ETM1), and formerly known as the "Initial Eocene" or "Late Paleocene Thermal Maximum", was a time period with more than 5–8 °C warmer global average temperature rise across the event. This climate event occurred at the time boundary of the Paleocene and Eocene geological epochs. The exact age and duration of the event is uncertain but it is estimated to have occurred around 55.5 million years ago."

Two Pulses of CO2
"The associated period of massive carbon injection into the atmosphere has been estimated to have lasted no longer than 20,000 years. The entire warm period lasted for about 200,000 years. Global temperatures increased by 5–8 °C.[1] The carbon dioxide was likely released in two pulses, the first lasting less than 2,000 years. Such a repeated carbon release is in line with current global warming."

Feb 2019
Undersea Gases Could Superheat the Planet


AKA, "Paleogene"
Around 55.5/54.8 Million Years Ago
"The end of the Paleocene (55.5/54.8 Mya) was marked by the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum, one of the most significant periods of global change during the Cenozoic, which upset oceanic and atmospheric circulation and led to the extinction of numerous deep-sea benthic foraminifera and on land, a major turnover in mammals."




Recent PETM Research
Cause: Earth-Pulses of Hydrates?
55 Million Years Ago

The PETM Past may well be our Future

April 2019
2019: PETM Feedback Loop extends Length and Depth of Global Warming Climate Change: Let the Past be Our Guide? I Hope Not...


March 2019
Undersea Gas Releases Could Superheat the Planet


Aug 2018
OCEANS, CHEMISTRY, & CLIMATE: PETM CO2 Cooked Up a Toxic Ocean Brew


July 2018
CO2 Increase a Time Machine Back to the Palogene Era


Nov 2017
The Eco-Crash News, The Past Foretells the Future; Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum



The Big Rock from Space
66 Million Years Ago


The K-Pg Mass Extinction Event

2 Articles
Human Effects Equal Chicxulub Climate Disruption?




Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event (T-OAE)
Cause: Big Volcano
201 Million Years Ago
June 2018
How do you like your frogs cooked? Self & Slow, or Naturally Quick?

Survey of T-OAE. PDF.



Big Volcano, Permian Extinction
252 Million Years Ago
April 2019
The Big Volcano: The Permian Extinction



Big Volcano, Denovian Extinction
372 Million Years Ago
Denovian Extinction Event "Home Grown," being Volcanic in Nature,
Geo Society of America, May 1, 2018.



Lau/Kozlowskii Extinction Event
Cause: Earth-Based, Not a Big Rock nor Big Volcano
420 Million Years Ago
Sept 2019
Modern Record of Ocean Oxygen Depletion Tracking Ancient Lau/Kozlowskii Extinction Event




On the Longest Timescales

We now know that after the radiation threat to planetary life potentially presented by any nearby massive star going Supernova passes, any black hole potentially created in the implosion can result in a whole range of new threats to any nearby life.


June 2019
Ancient Supernova Radiation Set the Forest Fires that Evolved Footloose Humans?


Feb 2019
Black Hole Plasma Planet Killer Beam



Geological Time Scales, US Geo Society.

Geo Time Scales, Wiki.





Rare Events
The deal here is that we have to look deeply into our ancient past to find global-scale catastrophic events, to find the meteor strikes, the massive volcanoes, and with the PETM, which possibly consisted of two massive pulses of hydrate releases into the oceans, to come anywhere near equal to the disruptive and destructive effects we've unleashed on our planet by our rapidly jacking-up today's atmospheric CO2.

Mass Extinction
Those events we find in the past with changes equal to today's are truly catastrophic, disrupting life in the oceans, on the land, & in the air for hundreds of thousands of years.

Self-Induced Disaster
The difference between these destructive changes in the ancient past was that they were all triggered by forces of nature, by, "Acts of God," against our contemporary interlinked climate and ecological disasters being clearly self-induced.

Scary Things
It looks like the massive frozen hydrate deposits under the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans are beginning to stir. They may not, "go off," right now. They may not go off over the next few decades. But, they are stirring, and will certainly go off as heating continues.

Are We There Yet?
The odds are very high, by my recokening, that we've already crossed the point where our present level of atmospheric heating will, ultimately, trigger a massive release of unfreezing methane off the floor of the Arctic, which will then, after triggering another massive round of climate feedback loops, trigger a second, and ultimately deadly for civilization, second massive emission of frozen hydrates, this time off the floors of the Arctic and Antarctic.

The thing about us humans is that our basic moral senses long ago informed us of this outcome, if we cared to listen to them.


What's Going On

Nov 2018
The Existential Zone

Jan 2018
Technology News. The Bottom Line: Escape from the Tech Trap





News of Man & Nature, September 2019








Nature News


Climate Destruction News



Bee News

Bear News

Spider Forum

Bird News

Small Mammals

Frogs and Reptiles

Butterfly News


Health and Fitness

Mountain Safety

Mosquito News

Female Trail

High Sierra History


Astro-Phys, Space, & Science News

High Sierra Geology News

Fish, Oceans, & Water News






climate change, news, first, successful, PETM, Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum, climate model, CO2 sensivity, carbon, sensivity, ancient, weather, climate


Powered by Drupal, an open source content management system

Latest News: RSS FEED

Syndicate content

Support Tahoe to Whitney

The Tahoe to Whitney Trail Guide and Magazine are walked, written, funded, and supported by my efforts, with the help of kindred spirits and my sister.

We offer valuable Trail Guide, Skills, Weather, News and Analysis.

My goal is to get you out to see your natural and social potential. Help me keep this unique resource accessible and expanding towards its potential. We've a lot of miles to cover ahead...

If you feel these efforts are valuable, I'm cordially inviting you to support them, here:



I am currently working towards publishing the completed guide between Tahoe & Yosemite as an e-book, while converting this "blog" to a fine magazine format. You will like the results! Help Tahoe to Whitney reach its potential!


Why Support Tahoe to Whitney?
Mission Statement

Warning: INSERT command denied to user 'dbo256360593'@'' for table 'watchdog' query: INSERT INTO watchdog (uid, type, message, variables, severity, link, location, referer, hostname, timestamp) VALUES (0, 'php', '%message in %file on line %line.', 'a:4:{s:6:\"%error\";s:12:\"user warning\";s:8:\"%message\";s:436:\"INSERT command denied to user 'dbo256360593'@'' for table 'accesslog'\nquery: INSERT INTO accesslog (title, path, url, hostname, uid, sid, timer, timestamp) values('Study of Ancient PETM Climate Suggests Increasing CO2 Sensivity could Accelerate Warming', 'node/2520', '', '', 0, '19f87f1b8e3e7d5082c9580d5d97fd3a', 362, 1586509277)\";s:5:\"%file\";s:87:\"/homepages/45/d175009339/htdocs/tahoetowhitney.org/modules in /homepages/45/d175009339/htdocs/tahoetowhitney.org/includes/database.mysqli.inc on line 134