“We’re in a different situation now — carbon dioxide is the major player in our current world,” said Princeton University geophysicist Yuzhen Yan, lead author of a new climate-change study based on two- million-year-old ice cores from Antarctica. “If we want to look into the geologic past for an analogy of what’s going on in our world today, we need to go beyond 2 million years to find it.”
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“Lots of people just don’t understand that there’s a darker side to Antarctica,” says Klaus Dodds, professor of geopolitics at Royal Holloway University of London. “What we’re seeing is great power politics play out in a space that a lot of people think of as just frozen wastes.”
There are thresholds, non-linear evolutions that are not yet incorporated into current climate models. Fifty-six million years ago, the Earth experienced an exceptional episode of global warming. In a very short time on a geological scale, within 10 to 20,000 years, the average temperature increased by five to eight degrees, only returning to its original level a few hundred thousand years later.