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06 May 2024

The last time CO2 levels were this high in the atmosphere was 14 million years ago.

The study, the results of which were published in the scientific journal "Science", shows that the last time the average level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was equal to its current values was at least 14 million years ago. The results of the study published in the journal "Science" are the result of the findings of 80 scientists from 16 countries around the world. The conclusions reached by the experts are extremely disturbing - scientists believe, among other things, that the last average value of carbon dioxide concentration - 420 ppm - in the atmosphere was previously thought to have occurred it was "only" 3-5 million years ago.

Scientists: There is as much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as there was 14 million years ago,

According to an article published in the scientific journal Science, the current level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is equal to the level that existed at least 14 million years ago. As part of the study, scientists analyzed previously published work by other experts and compared it with the latest data.

The period from 66 million years ago to the present was examined. Scientists analyzed biological and geochemical traces from the distant past, allowing them to reconstruct the historical CO2 record with greater precision than anyone has previously been able to do.

 According to experts, this discovery "makes us realize that what we are doing is rare in Earth's history." "We have known for a long time that CO2 in the atmosphere increases the temperature. This study gives us a much more solid picture of how sensitive the climate is," Bärbel Hönisch, a geochemist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University and the lead author of the study, noted in an interview with AFP.

What's more?

“The species Homo sapiens evolved only three million years ago. Our civilization is adapted to the sea level we have today, to the warm tropics, cool poles and temperate regions where there is a lot of rainfall," she added, noting that "further increasing the average concentration of carbon dioxide could cause the climate to shape it will be completely different.”

Study: record level of CO2 in the atmosphere.

The last time the average level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was what it is today, Greenland remained an ice-free green land, and human ancestors began to leave the forests and move to the grasslands. Previous analyzes suggested that such a state occurred much earlier, between 3 and 5 million years ago. However, it turned out that these assumptions were wrong.

As scientists note, in the period from about 2.5 million years ago to the end of the 18th century, the average CO2 concentration in the atmosphere was about 280 ppm. Currently, this level has increased to 420 ppm. Human activity, which has contributed to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 50 percent, retains heat in the atmosphere and, as a result, warms the planet, researchers note.

Experts believe that if global CO2 emissions continue to rise, they will likely reach 600-800 ppm by 2100. Yes, such CO2 levels have existed on Earth before. However, this was at a time when Antarctica was not yet covered with ice, about 30-40 million years ago. The world's flora and fauna looked completely different then than they do today.

"Regardless of exactly how many degrees the temperature changes, it is clear that we have already brought the planet to conditions that our species has never seen," said study co-author Gabriel Bowen, a professor at the University of Utah. “This should make us stop and think about what the right path is,” he added.

The research, the results of which were published in the journal Science, took seven years.



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