We have been calculating climate change on Earth wrong all along. Here's what the latest study reveals.
We have been calculating climate change on Earth wrong all along. We had no idea that our seas in ancient times were way cooler than expected and the trend in global warming is apparently far worse than thought. Some scientists in Europe have come to the conclusion that the assumptions we took to guess past temperatures of oceans have been false. A research published in Nature’s Journal website has revealed that the methods humans have used to study sea conditions was wrong all this while. This has lead to questions on whether the way climate change is measured, fundamentally flawed? If the climate change study turns out to be true, it will not only have an impact on the academic world but also have a dramatic effect on world politics involving global warming.
The published study includes a report from researchers at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). According to them, ocean temperatures could have remained relatively stable during this period. This essentially means that right now the rise in climate change is alarming. Anders Meibom, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), writes: “If we are right, our study challenges decades of paleoclimate research.” The study basically reveals that oceans were colder many million years ago, which also means that the last 100 million years have been unparalleled in terms of global warming. This also means that the calculations till now have been simply wrong.
How are ocean temperatures calculated? A specific technique is used to calculate the temperature difference in the seas and based on that the temperatures currently should be around 15 degree Celsius hotter than what it was 100 million years ago. There is an oxygen isotope named Oxygen-18 in tiny marine fossils known as ‘foraminifera’. The presence of these is calculated to estimate the temperatures. The device used for calculation is called NanoSIMS or Nanoscale Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometer. This gadget is used to find out the O-18 content in foraminifera fossils.
What does the study reveal? Interestingly, the research published in the journal reveals that the level of Oxygen-18 present in the foraminifera have the capability to change without leaving a trace. This fundamental flaw leads to the fall of the reliability of the method. Sylvain Bernard, from the Paris-based Institute of Mineralogy, Materials Physics and Cosmochemistry, writes: “What appeared to be perfectly preserved fossils are in fact not. This means that the paleotemperature estimates made up to now are incorrect.”
What now? The will now go back to the available data set and study the difference that re-equilibration have made to the historical records until now. They will then quantify the long due unexpected temperature change. They will have to find other organisms to understand the changes in ocean sediments to gauge the geological differences.