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Pioneering climate change research reveals long-term global carbon cycle impacts


Credit: CC0 Public Domain A new study in Nature Geoscience , co-authored by Dr. Heather Ford from Queen Mary’s School of Geography, uses a unique research model to illustrate how past geologic periods can help us understand future climate changes.

As research uncovers more about Earth’s distant history, going back millions of years before human life, past climates are increasingly relevant for understanding how key elements of the climate system are affected by high greenhouse gas levels. Dr. Ford’s previous research has underlined the importance of reconstructing and simulating past climates in predicting future changes.

Climate scientists usually build models with a few hundred years of historic weather records including data like sea surface temperatures , wind speeds and cloud cover. Such models are used around the world to assess impacts of greenhouse gas emissions, predict scenarios for future climate, and propose mitigation strategies.

Historic climate records typically only span a century or two, which Dr. Ford says “really doesn’t give the deep ocean enough time to balance with imposed climate settings”—so her studies focus more on “paleo-climates,” covering a far broader range of climatic conditions to help understand long-term climate change.

In this new paper, Dr. Ford used geologic data and a […]

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