Scientists have unleashed a fascinating new knowledge about the reasons behind one of the most rapid and dramatic cases of climate change in history.

A team of scientists led by Dr Sev Kender at the University of Exeter have made a dramatic breakthrough to unravel the cause of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), an extreme global warming event that lasted around 150.000 years and witnessed a significant increase in temperature.

Crucially, study of rock samples demonstrated that there was a significant decline in the mercury level in the early stages of PETM – suggesting that at least one other carbon reservoir would have emited significant greenhouse gas emissions once the phenomenon set foot.

The research suggests the existence of tipping points in the Earth system that could trigger the release of extra carbon storage that has pushed Earth’s climate to unprecedented levels of temperature.

The breakthrough research, also involving experts from the British Geological Survey, the University of Oxford, Hermann-watt University, and the University of California at Riverside, could lead to a fresh sense of how modern climate change will affect the earth in the coming centuries.

The study will be published August 31, 2021 in Nature Communications.

The PETM phenomenon, one of the most rapid global warming phases in history comes during Greenland “s disengaging from Europe.

While the reasons for the release of such enormous amounts of CO 2 as a trigger for this prolonged warming spell would have been hidden for many years, scientists have recently pointed out that volcanic outbursts have been the main cause.

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Climate change

Climate change includes both global warming driven by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns. (wikipedia)


University of Oxford

The University of Oxford is a collegiate research university in Oxford, England. There is evidence of teaching as early as 1096, (wikipedia)


Oxford Brookes University

Oxford Brookes University is a public research university in Oxford, England. It is a new university, having received university status through the Further and Higher Education Act 1992. (wikipedia)


Nature Communications

Nature Communications is a peer-reviewed, open access, scientific journal published by Nature Research since 2010. It is a multidisciplinary journal and it covers the natural sciences, (wikipedia)