December 12, 2018 1:00 pm IST
Since the 1800s of the last century, we, humans, have changed the natural, long-term cooling trend that has returned for at least 50 million years. And everything that has been to us, according to the study, has been two centuries.
The earth's climate by 2030 will resemble the Pliocene environment, which took place about 3 million years ago in geological time. If our emissions continue to be unchecked, our climate by 2150 will compare to a warm and almost unacceptable Eocene period 50 million years ago.
"If we think about the future in terms of the past where we are going, this is an unclear territory for human society," said Kevin Burke, lead author of the study and researcher of the Paleoceneologist at Wisconsin-Madison University, he said university press,
"We are moving towards very dramatic changes in an exceptionally rapid timeframe, reversing the trend of cooling the planet for centuries."
All species, roaming the Earth and swimming in the oceans, had a predecessor that survived in both Epoque and Pliocene eras. Whether people and the flora and fauna of today's and the near future can adapt to these relatively rapid changes is not certain.
The accelerated rate of change appears to be faster than anything previously experienced on the planet.
"We can use the past as a measure to understand the future that is so different from everything we have experienced in our lives," says paleoecologist John Jack Williams, professor of geography at Wisconsin-Madison University, he said the press.
"People find it hard to figure out what the world will be like five or ten years, and this is a tool for predicting how we go along these paths and we use deep geological analogues from the history of the Earth to think about changes in time."
Deep-geological studies explore the radioactive components of ancient Earth, accumulated on a sample of land, to this day for the formation and conditions of this geological period. It is believed that the soil and organic matter of Pliocene will differ from those in the Eocene Age in its deep geological makeup.
The patterns made in the study show that these climates first appear first in the center of the continents and then spread out to the oceans. Raising temperatures, increasing precipitation, melting ice caps, and moderate climate near Earth's poles are changes that are common to Pliocene today.
Findings in the study have more implications for geologists, climate change scientists and Earth historians, but researchers are achieving the right balance between alarm and optimism.
On the one hand, the Earth is directed to an unknown territory during the life of the next two generations. On the other hand, life has long been resilient.
"We have seen great things happening in the history of the Earth – new species have evolved, life continues, and the animals survive, but many species will be lost and we live on this planet," says Williams he said the press.
"These are things to be concerned about, so this work tells us how we can use our history and history on Earth to understand changes today and how best to adapt."