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UC Davis researchers plan to study sediment cores to predict future climate  (Source:
More carbon dioxide-related worries lead to a study of the Earth's rock/dirt cores in an effort to understand past climate transitions and to predict future climate conditions

Isabel Montañez, study leader and a geologist from the University of California at Davis, and a team of researchers, plan to study the cores of rocks and dirt around the world in an effort to understand transitions, such as those between icehouse and greenhouse states, in climate throughout history.

Scientists who have studied rocks and ice from 2 million years ago have already composed a record of Earth’s changing climate, but according to UC Davis researchers, the problem is that our atmosphere contains 25 to 30 percent more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than "at any point in that record." 

Now, worried by what the climate future may hold in regards to the amount of carbon dioxide emitted, the UC Davis research team is looking to study transitions between various climate-related states at different sites around the world through the cores of rocks and dirt. By understanding the past, they hope to predict the future. 

"Those past times of higher CO2 were much warmer, and there were processes operating that don't operate in our current climate,” said Montañez. "And they lead to amplified change, accelerated warming, changes in ice sheets, things like that."

The basis for the team's research are geologic events such as the burst of volcanic eruptions 55 million years ago, which filled the atmosphere with carbon dioxide and increased global temperatures. From there, the UC Davis team stated that the oceans were warmed, which led to the release of large amounts of methane, which accelerated warming. This caused the extinction event known as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, and the team claims this could happen at some point today or in the future.  

"If we continue to emit CO2 into the atmosphere and don't do something about abating those emissions, by the end of this century we are looking to be where we were 35 million years ago," said Montañez. 

Sediment cores contain minerals, shells and plants that can be used to measure levels of carbon dioxide as well as temperature. Through this, the UC Davis team is looking to study transitions between icehouse and greenhouse states. 

"These are all proxies [and] the technology that allows us to define these proxies has been revolutionized in the last decade in terms of its ability to do that and to actually read time in old sediments and rocks," said Montañez.  

The researchers also noted that scientists in the future will look at rock cores from today in order to understand the transition to the Anthropocene, or the age of man. Montañez said that the Anthropocene will end about "80,000 years from now," and that it will probably look much like the intervals seen in the past they are studying today. 

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By kattanna on 3/3/2011 1:01:43 PM , Rating: 5
i "love" how they dont ever bother to tell a more complete picture..

Scientists who have studied rocks and ice from 2 million years ago have already composed a record of Earth’s changing climate, but according to UC Davis researchers, the problem is that our atmosphere contains 25 to 30 percent more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than "at any point in that record.

with that you would think OMG we are going to burn up.. yet..

maximum interglacial temperatures over the past 340 kyr were between 6.0 K and 10.0 K above present-day values

our current interglacial is actually cooler then past ones. so we have a cooler temp now, yet higher CO2. hmmm, could CO2 not be the climate driver they think it is?

RE: amusing
By gamerk2 on 3/3/2011 1:07:07 PM , Rating: 2
Over the long term, as in the past 300k years, yes, its been cooler. Short term though [as in, the last century], its clearly been warmer on average, and the warming is expected to be an exponential trend [IE: Slow starting, then rapidly accelerating].

So yeah, its not fair to look at a 300 year period to explain 100 years worth of change; that skews the average toward to cooler.

RE: amusing
By drycrust3 on 3/3/2011 2:11:33 PM , Rating: 5
Short term though [as in, the last century], its clearly been warmer on average, and the warming is expected to be an exponential trend [IE: Slow starting, then rapidly accelerating].

See this: this is exactly why corrupting your raw data is so dangerous! The Universtiy of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit emails showed that not only were they corrupting the raw data, but extraordinarily their scientists didn't think there was anything wrong with that!
How do we know that the average temperature has been warming for the last 100 years? Because our records tell us that! But didn't you corrupted your records to show that? Well, yes, we did! Ok, so you think that is ok? Yes. But isn't that unscientific? Well, yes it is. So essentially, despite the meticulous research of tens of thousands of scientists around the world, we don't actually know for sure what the climate was around the world for the last 100 years? Ummm ... yes. So the earth may have got warmer, or colder, or stayed pretty much the same and we just don't know? Correct.

RE: amusing
By TSS on 3/4/2011 11:10:47 AM , Rating: 3
But...but... There is a concencus! I'm super serial!

</Al Gore>

RE: amusing
By geddarkstorm on 3/3/2011 3:52:33 PM , Rating: 2
Thermodynamics would like to have a word.

Don't forget that the radiation back scattering (aka greenhouse) effect of CO2 is geometric with concentration. That is each doubling of CO2 increases temperature by the same amount. So, it is very much not exponential, nor could it ever be.

RE: amusing
By JediJeb on 3/3/2011 3:54:31 PM , Rating: 2
What if it is discovered that the position of the Continental Plates is the cause, should we then devote our full effort into trying to freeze them in place so they never move again?

In the past CO2 levels have been higher with lower temperatures than now, also temperatures have been higher with lower CO2 levels than we have now, so can we be certain humans are causing the warming simply because we emit CO2? Also how can we predict with certainty that the warming will become exponential? What if as the warming accelerates the flow of fresh water from ice melting shuts down the ocean currents and drives us into another ice age? Did they plug the millions of possible variables into the equations to support the conclusion of exponential warming or did they use only a few?

Man should take a lesson from past history and understand that climate has never been "stable" for very long at a stretch and take steps to adapt or we will have to suffer more when the consequences finally hit. We build cities along shorelines which we know have changed in the past with higher and lower sea levels yet we think that since we have established our presence there the shorelines should now never change because we can not tolerate such disobedience from nature. Man once crossed on dry land from Russia into North America, if he had built a city the size of New York along the shore line then, where would it be now? Under water just like New York will be some day as nature has its way with mankind. If instead we suddenly change from warming to cooling and the major coastal cities are then land locked with no ports because sea levels have fallen, will man they cry that we need to melt the polar caps so they can continue shipping goods into their ports without having to move the ports out to the water?

Mankind is not big enough to control the Earth, and until we understand that, we are doomed to a short existence. Adapt and survive, whine and complain only leads to extinction.

RE: amusing
By zixin on 3/3/2011 1:28:42 PM , Rating: 2
You do realize that the rapid raise of CO2 happen in the last 300 years or so. According to your "quote" (quotation mark because that sentence you picked doesn't appear anywhwere in teh article) is for the past 340,000 years. You see how 300 years doesn't affect the average of 340,000 year much.

RE: amusing
By kattanna on 3/3/2011 3:12:31 PM , Rating: 2
According to your "quote" (quotation mark because that sentence you picked doesn't appear anywhwere in teh article) is for the past 340,000 years

you should try actually reading the article then cause its right there at the bottom of the 1st full paragraph on their page 344

and the rise of CO2 is not solely mans doing. as the planet warms there is a natural release of CO2. one of the problems is determining how much is nature, and how much is man, but lets not let facts get in the way of a good scare.

would i love to see the world move from a fossil fuel world to cleaner power sources, you bet. but not because of CO2, its all the real pollutants that make it so for me.

RE: amusing
By sleepeeg3 on 3/4/2011 12:12:49 PM , Rating: 2
The GeoCARB data already looked at rock samples and debunked this whole fraud:

If the researchers at UC Davis are claiming that CO2 levels were higher in the recent past that contradicts everything else. They might want to talk to those guys at NASA...

Find a real line of work, TK.

We don't care
By kjboughton on 3/3/2011 1:04:03 PM , Rating: 5
We're all sick of reading about this fraud, especially considering this is a tech site. Please stop posting this dribble and get back to covering topics of interest.

RE: We don't care
By spread on 3/3/2011 8:46:07 PM , Rating: 2
Oh no! What a sham. Having to cut down on pollution and waste.

I guess there's no point in clean energy and electric vehicles.

RE: We don't care
By TSS on 3/4/2011 11:29:23 AM , Rating: 2
Considering electric vehicles will need power, which requires the grid to be upgraded (enviromental impact) and a heck of alot more power generation (done by coal), i very much doubt there's any point in them. The only pollution they clear up is noise pollution, atleast until politicians start legislating sirenes because a deaf person got hit, or a normal person sues a car company because they didn't look "but also didn't hear it comming". And just wait untill your replacing batteries for 65 million vehicles.

As for clean energy, that's a fallacy. There is no clean energy. Because there is no free energy. Wind energy isn't free - the wind needs that energy. Take it from the wind, and it might stop raining in certain areas. Solar isn't free either - it converts what would heat up the surface of the earth and converts it into electricity (not to mention plants need sunlight - no growing stuff beneath solar panels). Because solar panels aren't used much that we don't notice this effect yet. But before we started installing mass installations of huge wind turbines nobody though the wind could actually lose power either.

So while i'm pretty sure you didn't mean to, you are correct.

RE: We don't care
By kjboughton on 3/4/2011 2:56:54 PM , Rating: 2
CO2 isn't a pollutant, no matter how much you wish it were.

And for (obvious) reasons, there will always be waste. See: Laws of Thermodynamics.

That being said, we all strive for more efficient means of energy production.

My point still stands though. This is a tech website, and seeing as how my initial comment has achieved a rating of "5" (as of today, 3/4/2011) it appears as though a vast majority of DailyTech's readers also agree with me, and not with you.

Does 3 continents = "weather" or "climate"?
By mattclary on 3/4/2011 9:04:12 AM , Rating: 2
RE: Does 3 continents = "weather" or "climate"?
By sleepeeg3 on 3/4/2011 12:17:15 PM , Rating: 2
...but, but they told me the polar bears are falling in the ocean!

By voronwe on 3/5/2011 10:05:09 PM , Rating: 3
They are. Did you look at the color key (hint - white isn't what you think it is)? Did you bother to read the original source?

Check out the "Notable Features" section:

- Seasonal change of sea ice
- Shrinking of Artic sea ice concentration, especially in summers
- The disappearancee of the Odden, a thumb-shaped sea ice feature east of Greenland, which often is visible prior to the late 1990's
- The minimum sea ice concentration in 2007 shattered the previous minimum sea ice record set in 2005 by 23% and contained 39% less ice than the 1979 to 2000 average.

By voronwe on 3/5/2011 10:06:36 PM , Rating: 2
Matt, if that's your new favorite image, I hope you took the time to read the color key and the original source:

I only hope.
By MeesterNid on 3/3/2011 1:04:17 PM , Rating: 2
I just hope that the funding for this research is coming straight out of the budget of the bankrupt state of Kalifornia and that whatever they discover needs to "drastically" change or reduced be localized to that state.

RE: I only hope.
By sleepeeg3 on 3/4/2011 12:18:45 PM , Rating: 2
I don't - I live here. We're not all crazy.

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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