Study: The Late Cretaceous Period was likely ice-free

Cretaceous%20Map[1]

From the University of Missouri-Columbia

COLUMBIA, Mo. – For years, scientists have thought that a continental ice sheet formed during the Late Cretaceous Period more than 90 million years ago when the climate was much warmer than it is today. Now, a University of Missouri researcher has found evidence suggesting that no ice sheet formed at this time. This finding could help environmentalists and scientists predict what the earth’s climate will be as carbon dioxide levels continue to rise.

“Currently, carbon dioxide levels are just above 400 parts per million (ppm), up approximately 120 ppm in the last 150 years and rising about 2 ppm each year,” said Ken MacLeod, a professor of geological sciences at MU. “In our study, we found that during the Late Cretaceous Period, when carbon dioxide levels were around 1,000 ppm, there were no continental ice sheets on earth. So, if carbon dioxide levels continue to rise, the earth will be ice-free once the climate comes into balance with the higher levels.”

In his study, MacLeod analyzed the fossilized shells of 90 million-year-old planktic and benthic foraminifera, single-celled organisms about the size of a grain of salt. Measuring the ratios of different isotopes of oxygen and carbon in the fossils gives scientists information about past temperatures and other environmental conditions. The fossils, which were found in Tanzania, showed no evidence of cooling or changes in local water chemistry that would have been expected if a glacial event had occurred during that time period.

IMAGE: In the study, MacLeod examined fossils of organisms that lived 90 million years ago. This photo is an image from a Scanning electron microscope of a planktic (left) and benthic…Click here for more information.

“We know that the carbon dioxide (CO2) levels are rising currently and are at the highest they have been in millions of years. We have records of how conditions have changed as CO2 levels have risen from 280 to 400 ppm, but I believe it also is important to know what could happen when those levels reach 600 to 1000 ppm,” MacLeod said. “At the rate that carbon dioxide levels are rising, we will reach 600 ppm around the end of this century. At that level of CO2, will ice sheets on Greenland and Antarctica be stable? If not, how will their melting affect the planet?”

Previously, many scientists have thought that doubling CO2 levels would cause earth’s temperature to increase as much as 3 degrees Celsius, or approximately 6 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the temperatures MacLeod believes existed in Tanzania 90 million years ago are more consistent with predictions that a doubling of CO2 levels would cause the earth’s temperature could rise an average of 6 degrees Celsius, or approximately 11 degrees Fahrenheit.

“While studying the past can help us predict the future, other challenges with modern warming still exist,” MacLeod said. “The Late Cretaceous climate was very warm, but the earth adjusted as changes occurred over millions of years. We’re seeing the same size changes, but they are happening over a couple of hundred years, maybe 10,000 times faster. How that affects the equation is a big and difficult question.”

MacLeod’s study was published in the October issue of the journal Geology.

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118 thoughts on “Study: The Late Cretaceous Period was likely ice-free

  1. CO2 levels of 1000 ppm will melt all the ice? Even if you believe in the “greenhouse gas” effect of CO2, the logrithmic nature of it will mean it has no effect from about 300 ppm onwards.

    Obviously that sort of detail seems to be too technical for the authors.

  2. “In our study, we found that during the Late Cretaceous Period, when carbon dioxide levels were around 1,000 ppm, there were no continental ice sheets on earth. So, if carbon dioxide levels continue to rise, the earth will be ice-free once the climate comes into balance with the higher levels.”

    One heck of an assumption – that CO2 levels are the cause of an ice-free earth! Where is the evidence to support such a quantum leap – what is the cause and effect – does CO2 drive temperature or temperature drive CO2 – or is some other mechanism at play

    Andi

  3. This is because CO2 is the only thing that controls climate. Therefore whatever conditions were like 90 million years ago is solely the result of the CO2 levels that existed at that time. So if CO2 returns to the levels that existed 90 million years ago, the climate will be exactly as it was 90 million years ago.

    The continents will presumably realign themselves to where they were 90 million years ago as well.

    This will happen 10,000 times faster than it did in geological times gone by because of human emissions, and that’s obviously why he’s worried. You can imagine the mayhem with the continents all moving about so quickly.

    Powerful stuff this CO2. Makes perfect sense when you think about it.

    (For those in any doubt, I am being sarcastic)

  4. If there was no ice in Antarctica, well, that means that once the ice is gone we will likely be able to extract lots of oil from there!

    Now seriously, no matter how fast we put CO2 into the atmosphere, even if the long-term status with that ammount of CO2 was an ice-free planet (which nobody has proved), it would take many thousand years to melt all that ice. Before that has any chance to happen, Milankovich cycles will bring back the ice.

  5. Rubbish.Start with a CAGW meme and fit the paper around an already agreed conclusion. A simple Google for ice sheets in Late Cretaceous destroys this paper.e.g.

    “Milankovitch forced cyclic alternations from drier to wetter climatic periods caused vegetation variability from 72 to 77Ma. This climate change was probably related
    to the waxing and waning of ephemeral (100 ky) small ice sheets in Antarctica during times of insolation minima and maxima. Drying and cooling after 72 Ma culminated from 68 to 66 Ma, mirroring trends in global δ 18 O data” – Gallagher et al, Science Direct, 2008.

  6. Unlike the MWP in Greenland, which was a local thing, if Tanzania didn’t have glaciers, I guess the whole world didn’t. But then again, that was before Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged, which I doubt was taken into account in the study.

    CO2 driving temperature again.

  7. We are probably dealing with the biggest scientific fraud in History since this paper: 1981_Hansen_etal.pdf (published in ‘Science’)

    Para 2; the claim that CO2 blocks IR in the range 7-14 microns (two small bands at ~ 10 microns) is wrong. The correct 15 micron band would only cause 1.2 K surface temperature increase for no change of OLR spectral distribution as [CO2] varies; untrue.

    Para 4; the 33 K ghe claim fails to account for the loss of cloud and ice albedo if ghgs were taken from the atmosphere, giving 43% SW energy increase: real ghe ~ 11K; 3x positive feedback wrong from the start.

    This passed peer review hence this IPCC mantra is shown up to be ‘Believe us because we conned you in the past.’. In reality CO2 climate sensitivity is probably <0.1 K.

  8. Where are the “p” values, and what was the confidence interval? Certainly, there are some numbers associated with this “study”, or is it just another press release in the run-up to AR5?

  9. “Late Cretaceous Period was likely ice-free….At the rate that carbon dioxide levels are rising, we will reach 600 ppm around the end of this century. At that level of CO2, will ice sheets on Greenland and Antarctica be stable?” Yada yada, CO2 waffle CO2.
    What about the position of the continents, Numbskull? Antarctica is not isolated, no cirumpolar vortex etc, etc. How can you make direct comparison? You can’t. It’s hand-waving.

  10. “This finding could help environmentalists and scientists predict what the earth’s climate will be as carbon dioxide levels continue to rise.”

    Indeed, for a start it shows that there is not run-away climate change/tipping point/climate catastrophe with the “ocean boiling way” al a Hansen.

    Climate is stable a 1000ppmv CO2 and at much higher temps. As stable as it is now.

  11. Robin Hewitt said, 1:42am
    “Good heavens, I just followed a link to here from http://www.bbc.co.uk“.
    Now that does it for me, I can believe most things within the climate debate but this is ridiculous. A link from the BBC to WUWT, I suggest more water with whatever you’re drinking Rob. ;-)

  12. “So, if carbon dioxide levels continue to rise, the earth will be ice-free once the climate comes into balance with the higher levels.”

    Spurious and false assumption that temperature stabilises to match CO2 when the climate record clearly shows it is the opposite.

    When “the climate comes into balance” it will have reabsorbed the excess CO2 to the level determined by temperature.

    That day is a long way off and we almost certainly will not be here to worry and tweet about it. Real problems will likely intervene in the future of society long before then.

  13. I thought I’d read that the ice caps only formed after North and South America joined up and stopped the warm Pacific water flowing into the Atlantic. 1000 ppm of CO2 didn’t cause that.

  14. AleaJactaEst says:
    Rubbish.Start with a CAGW meme and fit the paper around an already agreed conclusion. A simple Google for ice sheets in Late Cretaceous destroys this paper.e.g.

    In what way does the fact you get a match for certain keywords on Google “destroy” the paper.
    Sceptical science requires thought not stupidity. Try again.

  15. Hand to face in despair… so we are back to 6 degrees now? These people just will not give up. Just when we thought that some sanity was starting to take hold. I can hardly bear to read this kind of simplistic reasoning any longer. This CO2 meme rivals the survival capacity of a cockroach. It just will not DIE! (Great little creatures, no?)

  16. Greg Goodman

    The criticism is quite well placed. They can only draw their conclusions (linking CO2 to global ice) by assuming that CO2 is the only thing, whether directly or indirectly, that drives climate. They make an assumption to support a hypothesis. Is this really good science or just the same old trite dressed up as new research.

  17. Actually there are strong indications that there were fair-sized icecaps inland in Antarctica at least intermittently during the Cretaceous. The main reason to believe this is that there were many (geologically) abrupt changes in sea level on the order of tens of meters which are difficult to explain except through the formation and melting of reasonably large icecaps. They were probably never large enough to reach the coast though.
    Unfortunately the interior parts of Antarctica aren’t easily available for research, but there is very strong evidence for a cool temperate climate with winter temperatures well below freezing from Southern Australia.
    That the water temperature in Tanzania wasn’t affected by inland icecaps in Antarctica isn’t exactly startling – it wasn’t much affected even by the recent worldwide glaciations. As for “water chemistry” I suppose he means oxygen isotope ratios, since the chemistry of tropical oceans would not be affected by glaciations in Antarctica in any case. It is also doubtful how well ice in Antarctica would show up in isotope ratios in the tropical Tethys, there wasn’t any cold Antarctic Deep Water in the oceans then, and if the ice-volume didn’t change markedly during the studied interval there would be no signal at all in tropical foraminifera. Unfortunately there is no information on how long the studied interval was, or its exact stratigraphic position so it’s impossible to correlate it with the sea-level curve.

  18. This finding could help environmentalists and scientists predict what the earth’s climate will be as carbon dioxide levels continue to rise.

    Can it? I only ask because the continents’ positions look very different today as well as ocean circulations. And the Isthmus of Panama which formed 3 million years ago also changed the climate patterns which also helped form the Arctic? Then there is Antarctica. During the late Ordovician ice age co2 was over 10 times higher than today.

    Can someone more knowledgeable than me explain how this study helps “environmentalists and scientists predict what the earth’s climate will be as carbon dioxide levels continue to rise”?

  19. Gabriel

    It’s called a rearguard action, and it isn’t working anymore. They’ve obviously joined the parade late or have lost touch with what is currently happening in the field of climate “science”.

  20. Yeah Jimbo, you make an excellent point. As a geologist they should have started from the point of continental positioning.

  21. It must have been all those dinosaur farts warming the atmosphere in the Late Cretaceous. Maybe that is why the dinosaurs went extinct, breathing in too much of their own gases.

  22. Good God, do these people ever listen to themselves? Do they not understand where the Anarctic continent is located? How the ice has formed in spite of very little atmospheric moisture penetrating into the interior?

    What will be the freezing/melting seasons in Antarctica when and if CO2 ever reaches 800 or 1000 ppm? Will the low winter temps be minus 85 degrees instead of minus 90? The average annual temp of the Antarctic interior is about -50C. How much ice is going to melt if the average annual temperature rises to -45C? How do we rule out that if it warms by a little bit, more precipitation might penetrate the interior, and that more snow would fall, actually increasing the ice sheet mass and lowering sea levels? I’m sorry, but I just have to call Balder Shot on this kind of idiocy.

  23. Here is an interesting quote from Miller et al (2003):
    “The alternative to invoking Late Cretaceous ice sheets is that global sea-level changes were paced by as yet undefined mechanisms, because none of the other hypothesized mechanisms (temperature effects, storages in lakes, deep-water changes, groundwater, or sea ice) can explain the observed 20-30 m changes in <1 m.y. Thus, because our data require that large, rapid sea-level variations occurred in the Late Cretaceous greenhouse world, we must conclude that either moderate-sized ice sheets paced sea-level changes during this time, or that our understanding of causal mechanisms for global sea-level change is fundamentally flawed."

  24. What about circumpolar currents?
    The map shows Antarctica linked with Australia. As every student knows – when Australia began its long march north, the sea channel opened up to isolate Antarctica and prevented warm water from the north getting to it. Cold water circulated round Antarctica and it then began to freeze over.
    CO2 has nothing to do with it.

  25. Derrr – I would have thought the fact that the Ruskies are drilling for oil in the Arctic (as well as BP’s northern Alaskan fields), would be a good indicator that the Arctic was ice free during the Cretaceous period. Do we really need any more evidence?

    (And I see that the continental-drift position of the Arctic was about the same then, as it is now).

    And where did that leap of faith come from, about this ice-free north being due to CO2? Who says? Where is the evidence? Is science now a matter of pontificating, rather than evidence? Are they going to change the name for Scientific Papers into Scientific Bulls?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papal_bull

    What about solar activity, orbital eccentricity, or even ocean circulation patterns as the continents began to divide?? Does nobody in science use rational thought any more?

  26. Mickey Reno:

    Didn’t you know that beneath the Antarctic is where the unfindable deep ocean global warming heat is stored. That alone is going to turn the continent into molten lava. :)

  27. OMG 10,000 times faster! It will be almost as fast as a Younger Dryas Event! How will life survive!

  28. If the CO2 did all of that, then it is hard to imagine how we managed a 17 year plateau with steadily increasing CO2. The rate is supposed to be 10,000 X faster!! So a late Cretaceous plateau would be ~150,000 years I guess.

  29. “David L. says:

    September 26, 2013 at 2:58 am”

    If we consider that ~50% of emissions of CO2 from human activities is absorbed, to get to 1000ppm would take ~600 years. What? Me worry?

  30. “John S. says:

    September 26, 2013 at 3:15 am”

    You are right! I am totally surprised to see WUWT linked in an article at bbc.co.uk. Anthony, what have you done? You will have the entire BBC reading latte/chardonnay set crying into their drinks!

  31. It is amazing that a Geologist would have this opinion. The geology department at KU just down the road is openly scornful of the idea of a CO2 governed paleo climate. What is going on at MU?

  32. I was really hoping that they had ‘modeled’ the ocean currents to backup their claims, but no! Sometimes those models would get in there way of their Religion…

  33. Is this why we don’t have any Late Cretacean Polar Bears any more?

    Won’t somebody think of the poor little cuddly animals? BAN tectonic movements NOW!!!!

  34. How does the author figure CO2 got so high without human intervention? There is no known natural cycle that increases CO2 and then decreases it again. There are lots of known natural cycles that increase and decrease temperature. Sans human beings, what is the proposed mechanism that creates the Ordovician and Cretaceous CO2 rise, and then fall?

  35. And my point is . . . .

    (Sigh) Let’s remind ourselves . . . .

    Fact: Excluding CO2, 99.96% of ‘the sky’ is made up of all the other atmospheric gases. This leaves CO2 at just 0.040% (400 parts per million). For those decision makers who have still not grasped how miniscule this amount is and prefer it explained in simple terms, think of 1 x Imperial Gallon of CO2 to every 3,200 gallons of air (0.040% of 3,200 = about 1).

    Fact: There are two types of CO2 – ‘naturally occuring’ and ‘man-made’. 96.775% of CO2 is naturally occurring, thus leaving man-made CO2 @ 3.225%. For those decision makers who still have not grasped how miniscule this amount is and prefer it explained in simple terms, there are 8 pints in 1 x Imperial Gallon. Of the gallon of CO2, 7.75 pints of it is completely natural and 0.25 pints is man-made (96.775% of 8 pints = 7.75 pints).

    Are you still with me? Good.

    Fact: For every 3,200 gallons of air, 7.75 pints of CO2 is naturally produced by: All plant photosynthesis, Respiration in all animal life, Volcanic eruptions, Geysers, Natural ‘wildfires’, Marine life Respiration (incl. Corals), Micro-organism respiration, Anearobic digestion (plant decay), Cellular respiration, Food digestion waste (flatulence), Natural animal decomposition (Decay), Calcification (Stalactites & Stalagmites) and Natural fermentation (yeast moulds).

    Fact: For every 3,200 gallons of air, JUST 0.25 pints (5 Fl.oz.) is produced by humans. This includes: Burning of any fossil fuel (oil, oil derivatives, coal, natural gas, peat and wood alcohols); Burning of timber or crops (wood burners, domestic fires, wood chips in bio-mass, charcoal, human caused forest fires, garden incinerators); Global alcoholic beverage market (brewing industry, wine & champagne production, beer dispensing propellant, distillation); Carbonated drinks & beverage industry (man-made CO2 injected into soft drinks as a novelty effect – adding no flavour whatsoever); Decaffinated coffee manufacture; Food Manufacture (the world’s entire daily bread production, sodium bicarbonate aeration in snackfoods/biscuits/crackers/cakes/sponges, yeast extract, modified air packaging to prevent oxidising, dry ice used to keep fruit & vegetables fresh); Refridgeration (fridges, freezers, air-conditioning); Industrial Processes (coolant gas in welding & fabrication, lime kiln processes, industrial waste incineration, sand-blasting using highly pressurised pellets of frozen CO2, laser cutting of all PCB’s for electronics/TV’s/computers); Propellants (fire extinguishers, air bags, life vests, aviation ‘exit slides’); Stage, film & theatre (dry ice, CO2 cannons); Water purification; Limescale removal products; Denture cleaning products; . . . . and finally, anything humans throw out for Composting (garden waste, peelings, etc.).

    And my point is . . . . how can such a minuscule amount of man-made gas be responsible for a 1 degree C temperature increase in the last century – and that our decision makers feel that by curbing just the ‘burning of fossil fuels’ part of this minuscule amount of man-made gas (ignoring all the other ways we manufacture the stuff) that they will save the world from doom – however much it costs.

  36. PS Forgot to include Andrews Liver Salts.

    Are there any other ways we are ‘accountable’ for the impending doom? Jeez.

  37. At 1000 ppm CO2 doesn’t all life except cockroaches end? So what happened here? Shells sll dissolved in the acidic oceans. All the limestone dissolves. Now to just fivutr out wherr the CO2 came from.

  38. “GeeJam says:

    September 26, 2013 at 4:07 am”

    Great post. One of the simplest analogies, and visuals, I have seen described uses graph paper. Graph paper 1mx1m with 1mm squares. That’s 1 million squares. Colour in a square that is 20mmX20mm, that’s 400 squares. Now colour in a square that is 2mmx2mm, that’s 4 squares. Divide that by 2, that’s the annual human contribution to CO2 concentration.

  39. James Schrumpf says:
    September 26, 2013 at 3:56 am
    How does the author figure CO2 got so high without human intervention? There is no known natural cycle that increases CO2 and then decreases it again. There are lots of known natural cycles that increase and decrease temperature. Sans human beings, what is the proposed mechanism that creates the Ordovician and Cretaceous CO2 rise, and then fall?

    Answer – As the dinosaurs, being partially cold blooded animals who liked to be warm, burnt the forests and the plains to keep themselves warm, the earth got warmer and warmer. They enjoyed the warm planet so much they happily burnt more and more, and used up all the easy to obtain oil (all that stuff that floats on lakes). Because they did not think what they were doing, they burnt all the oil and all the peat, and all the coal that was on the surface. Then, surprisingly, they found it was time for “peak carbon”! No more coal. No more gas. No more oil. And every 14 years 10% of the carbon dioxide gradually leached out of the atmosphere. And as time went on the remaining CO2 kept on going. As the earth got colder and colder, the vegetation grew less and less. And the dinosaurs were feeling the cold and feeling hungry. So being sorrowful for themselves and what they had done to the planet, they just decided to die out.

    QED

    And who says my reasoning is not as good as that of Mr McLeod?

    BTW, David L and others, if we are now at 400 ppm and it is growing at 2 ppm/year, in 100 years it will have added 200 ppm, taking us to 600 ppm, not 200 or 300 years.

  40. David L. says:
    September 26, 2013 at 2:58 am

    600ppm to go, at 2ppm per year, equals 300 years to being ice free.

    It’s possible we will never get to 1,000ppm. Who knows what technologies and efficiencies will be like in the year 2100.Fertility rates around the world have been in decline since I think the 1960s. The world’s population could well start to fall by the middle of the next century or even before that!

    YaleGlobal, 26 October 2011
    Global Population of 10 Billion by 2100? – Not So Fast
    With urbanization and education, global fertility rates could dip below replacement level by 2100
    ………………….
    The demographic patterns observed throughout Europe, East Asia and numerous other places during the past half century as well as the continuing decline in birth rates in other nations strongly points to one conclusion: The downward global trend in fertility may likely converge to below-replacement levels during this century. The implications of such a change in the assumptions regarding future fertility, affecting as it will consumption of food and energy, would be far reaching for climate change, biodiversity, the environment, water supplies and international migration. Most notably, the world population could peak sooner and begin declining well below the 10 billion currently projected for the close of the 21st century.

    Joseph Chamie, former director of the United Nations Population Division,
    is research director at the Center for Migration Studies.

    http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/global-population-10-billion-not-so-fast

  41. I have never heard anyone say there was ice during this period. It’s a strawman paper.

    Temps were about 9.0C warmer, sea level was 260 metres higher than today. Most of our oil formed at this time in the extensive shallow seas that covered 35% of the continents.

    But there would have been a few glaciers on high mountain summits wherever they existed at the time. There would have been a few left-over from the Pangea formation.

  42. Patrick says:
    September 26, 2013 at 4:51 am

    So that’s a huge sheet of graph paper equivalent to the size of about 18 x A4 sheets. And only 2 sq. mm’s are man-made CO2. Nice analogy. Thanks.

    Like me, I bet you’re pleased they don’t think Nitrogen is the cause of AGW!

  43. “In our study, we found that during the Late Cretaceous Period, when carbon dioxide levels were around 1,000 ppm, there were no continental ice sheets on earth. So, if carbon dioxide levels continue to rise, the earth will be ice-free once the climate comes into balance with the higher levels.”

    Oh deary me. Was this deliberate deception? Any geologist reading this will know instantly that this statement is illogical. Other periods had over 4000ppm with an ice age! Oh deary me.

  44. “Others, such as the EU’s Climate Commissioner, Connie Hedegaard … said: “Let’s say that science, some decades from now, said: ‘We were wrong, it was not about climate’,”

    Not even “climate change” now, just “climate”. The movement is retreating into vaquery fast.

    And somehow “IPCC scientists” has been depersonalized to just “science”. So in the end, no person or people, including Ms Hedegaard. will ever be wrong, it was all the science’s fault.

    I called up science yesterday to ask what it thought of this attribution, and science told my “here’s the data, do your own flippin analysis”.

  45. “GeeJam says:

    September 26, 2013 at 5:19 am”

    May use lots of paper (Oh no! All that CO2 absorbed by the tree that gave up its life to make paper) but it is easy for anyone to do. Don’t need a PhD, super computer or anything other than some paper with squares on it, a ruler and some crayons (Summat Mann is good at using). So “scatter” those coloured squares evenly over the million other squares…and you get the picture. CO2 “blanket”, really? That picture indicates that those 2 squares which humans are responsible for, in reality, are completely insignificant (In terms of “trapping” heat – LOL).

  46. This may be a bit of off-topic trivia, but I enjoy geology and was intrigued by the poster who noted that the entire Islamic world was under water. For those who are familiar with where oil and gas reserves are found worldwide, it is easy to see that almost all of those places are located in areas that were submerged continental shelves back in the Cretaceous. For example, that shallow sea over what is today Saudi Arabia created beds of very porous limestone that are thousands of feet thick, and that’s where all the oil is. (the shallow sea in North America was similar)

    And then it stayed flat and stable for an eon or two, and had a strong cap layer put down on top of the limestone, sealing all of the organic material in and allowing it to cook for an eon or two. Voila, oil and gas! (yes, there’s a bit more to it – I’m not writing a textbook here) Central Europe and Central Asia would have been candidates for large, producing fields, but both areas had their geology fractured by the forces that built the Alps and the Himalaya, respectively – two massive features of our current Earth that are totally absent from the Cretaceous maps, although the proto-Rockies did exist, and the Appalachians of that period may have been similar to the Himalaya of today.

    I love maps of the old world, can’t help it. There’s so much to see in them, if you look!

  47. I can now see why Mizzou is a 2nd rate institution of higher education.

    How embarassing to the SEC and I am glad they are out of the Big 12!

  48. “wws says:

    September 26, 2013 at 6:04 am”

    Exactly! So when oil searching geologists find “salt rich” rock, there be oil/gas nearby!

  49. Greg Goodman says:
    September 26, 2013 at 2:14 am

    really Greg? – as a geologist with 25 years E&P experience and knowledge of the scientific method ,The fact that this was a simple task of bringing up a previously published paper that disproves almost every aspect of this drivel is thought in your narrow-minded definition. Google is an excellent vehicle do this is in an accelerated way, one would say a medium that is now the equivalent of a library. Try again back.

  50. Ninety million years ago, the American continents were separated, and thus the major oceans of the world were connected in the tropical zone. Three million years ago, that all changed when the Isthmus of Panama formed. Shortly thereafter, the Greenland ice sheet grew more rapidly and the earth descended into a 2.6 million year ice age in which it still remains.. C02 had nothing much to do with it, except when the earth was warmer, C02 levels in the atmosphere raised. This is a natural process, scientifically proven process – C02 follows temperature, and not the other way arournd.

  51. Antarctica’s climate is largely a product of it’s island/continent status as much as it’s location. The southern ocean circumpolar current isolates the continent and homogenizes the water and air temperatures – that is to say, keeps it CCCOOOLLLDDD.

    Question: What is a 5F (AGW scare figure) increase in average temperature when it normally averages -50F?
    Answer: Twice as cold as 0 degrees C – or one half the radiative output of just frozen water ice. [via Stefan-Boltzmann Law]

    ….Yeah, we are not melting THAT continent anytime soon.

  52. You won’t have an iceshelf if there’s not a sizable landmass near one of the poles. There have been many periods of the geological past when this was the case.

  53. The drawing shows the same continental shelves that exist, today. The continental shelves are run-off over millions of years. Today’s continental shelves are also the result of coastal flooding. This means there was much less water on Earth in the distant past.

    Also, the CO2 concentration was greater when there was less ice. The interpretation should suggest warmer climates cause more life to prosper and hence more carbon to enter the biosphere. Otherwise, the new carbon in the system would have to be inorganic in origin. If nearly all of today’s added carbon is coming from sequestered biomass in the form of coal and oil, where did the extra carbon come from for the dinosaurs?

  54. Sunsettommy says:
    September 26, 2013 at 6:34 am
    Was there any discussion about ocean currents that could be a significant factor in ice free polar regions?
    —————————–

    Think of the way ocean currents organize themselves today. For the most part, the Trade Winds at the equator blow east-to-west. This sets up an equatorial current that flows east-to-west until it runs into a continental shelf blocking it. Some of that current will then get directed north along the continental shelf or south along the continental shelf depending on the configuration/angles/depth of the ocean.

    Today’s examples are the 3 equatorial currents, the Gulf Stream, the Kuroshio, the Algulhus, the Brazil Malvinus confluence. After getting redirected, these currents will then migrate back around clockwise through the ocean in large-scale gyres.

    These larger currents also need about 200 metres of ocean depth to flow properly. They don’t really flow through depths less than this.

    Then at higher latitudes, the winds now blow west-to-east and either participate in keeping the water flowing in the clockwise gyres or they form complete encircling currents like the Antarctic Circumpolar current.

    Look at the Map at the top of the post. One can easily redraw the world ocean currents at the time, with these simple principles.

    I even imagine a warm Gulf-Stream-like current flowing right up through the middle of North America from Texas to Inuvik right into the Arctic ocean (but it might have too shallow for a really strong current). And we do indeed find alligator fossils dating from this time, on both sides of what would have been the North American inland sea all the way up to the Arctic. Giant plesiosaurs are also found.

  55. Another McScientist puts the cart before the horse.

    Even AlGore’s idiot disaster movie showed temperature leads CO2, despite his best efforts to pretend otherwise..

  56. I am appalled that ANY geologist could be so lacking in critical thinking as to conclude that just because CO2 and temperatures were higher means that CO2 caused the warm temperatures and that if we reach similar CO2 levels we will have similar temperatures! What’s even worse is that the reviewers and editors of the journal ‘Geology’ apparently were just as bad in not pointing out that not only is such a conclusion illogical, there is abundant evidence that as global temperatures rise, the oceans give up CO2 to the atmosphere. Gore attempted to make the same dumb argument about temperature and CO2 in ice cores but neglected to mention that warming always precedes CO2 in the ice core record. We might cut Gore a little slack because he has no science background at all, but a professional geologist ought to know better.

  57. One of my thoughts is the current position of the continents and their movement is leading to a cooler and cooler global climate. Why? The size of the Pacific basin is getting smaller. This reduces the effect of ENSO warm periods over time. Less and less heat gets transferred to the atmosphere during El Niño cycles. Sure, it will take a long time, but eventually it could lead to a permanent glaciation at higher levels than we’ve seen recently.

    In addition, this would also have led to less and less CO2 available for life. Life would be unsustainable on continents and would be limited to oceans. Thank goodness humans are freeing up some sequestered CO2 to help alleviate this problem.

  58. “The fossils, which were found in Tanzania, showed no evidence of cooling or changes in local water chemistry that would have been expected if a glacial event had occurred during that time period.” Someone please correct me if I am wrong here, but Tanzania, according to the map shown above, is in a moderate zone. So why would we expect a glacial event in this location?

  59. Don’t you just love these analyses based upon some little fossil bug, in the wrong part of the world, a world with wildly different unknown parameters of all kinds, for sure different ocean currents given continent positions and who knows if maybe the little bugs were DIFFERENT then. You just can’t make up this kind of stuff. Oh! Never mind.

  60. TomRude is correct.

    We should not be too hard on this poor geologist. He probably got a grant for his work and it probably kept Mrs Geologist and the little baby geologists from the poor house

  61. wws says:
    September 26, 2013 at 6:04 am

    Thanks for your comments. I too love the paleo map reconstructions. Eyeballed the continental positions vs today’s estimated drift and it did not look too unrealistic. Missed the lack of Appalachain Mtns but noted that the further east portions of the Rockies were not there, as they should not be, since they only grew about 70mm ybp. Did not know there were any Rockies at all 94mm ybp, but then I don’t live that far west and like the Appalachains, had little interest in them. Boxes of rocks, fossils and meteors under my desk from the Big Horn area.

    All in all this paper would be funny if it were not so sad.

  62. AlecMM says:
    September 26, 2013 at 1:34 am
    We are probably dealing with the biggest scientific fraud in History since this paper: 1981_Hansen_etal.pdf (published in ‘Science’)

    Para 2; the claim that CO2 blocks IR in the range 7-14 microns (two small bands at ~ 10 microns) is wrong. The correct 15 micron band would only cause 1.2 K surface temperature increase for no change of OLR spectral distribution as [CO2] varies; untrue.

    I’m not quite sure why you felt it necessary to bring up this more than 30 year old paper, but since you did you should get it right. Para 2 did not make the claim you assert, rather it said:

    “Carbondioxide absorbs in the atmospheric “window” from 7 to 14 micro-meters which transmits thermal radiation emitted by the earth’s surface and lower atmosphere.Increased atmospheric CO2 tends to close this window and cause outgoing radiation to emerge from higher,colder levels, thus warming the surface and lower atmosphere by the so-called greenhouse mechanism(5).”

    Which is perfectly correct, further details are given slightly later in the paper:

    “Our computations include the weak CO2 bands at 8 to 12um, but the strong 15um CO2 band, which closes one side of the 7 to 20um H20 window, causes [greater than or equal to] 90 percent of the CO2 warming.”

    Criticize the paper by all means but do so for what it says not what it does not say.

  63. Phil. says:
    September 26, 2013 at 8:37 am
    “Criticize the paper by all means but do so for what it says not what it does not say.”

    The implication, even if the earth were ice free 94mm ybp, that it was because of CO2 is completely ludicrous given the myriad of other potential causal variables that were different from today, at that time. And that somehow this paper will help us to determine what our world will be like as CO2 rises is laughable and beneath the dignity of a true scientist from any discipline. The obvious play for academic acceptance or grant funds has been pointed out by others on this post.

  64. This study is so bad that it beggars belief. It could only have passed peer review by pals who share the author’s childish faith in the magical power of CO2, or who know how idiotic that belief is, but are in on the gravy train.

    Here by contrast is real science, showing that the best explanation for rapid sea level changes observed in the warmest part of the Cretaceous Period (one of the warmest intervals in the entire Phanerozoic Eon) is Antarctic ice sheets:

    http://rockbox.rutgers.edu/kgmpdf/03-Miller.Geology.pdf

    The Cretaceous is a huge problem for CACA. The only way to make GCMs work in that Period is to assume ridiculously high ECS. CO2 levels were much higher than the 1000 ppm posited in this egregious paper, although might have been that low around 90 Ma. Peak Cretaceous concentration may have been over 4000 & was almost certainly over 2000.

    Yet peak warmth occurred about the time of this study, ie 90 Ma, when CO2 was actually falling from its Late Jurassic/Early Cretaceous high. Moreover, the coldest part of the Jurassic & Cretaceous occurred at the Period boundary, when CO2 was at its highest.

    The models can’t get the world as warm as it was then without assuming, as noted, preposterously high climate sensitivity. Clearly, other factors are far more important than CO2 levels.

    One study which I found convincing attributed Cretaceous warmth & low T gradient polewards to lack of clouds, caused by low biological productivity in the hot tropical oceans. But of course the GCMs don’t do clouds. CACA priests hate clouds.

    Sea level was high then, due more to thermal expansion from rapid sea floor spreading volcanism than lack of ice. Yet the evidence strongly suggests that ice somehow managed to form on Antarctica, at least in small, ephemeral fields or sheets, possibly waxing & waning in less than a million years, under Milankovitch orbital mechanical control.

    If I had time, I’d like to write up polar dinosaurs & what they show about Mesozoic climate, but maybe another day.

  65. My spidey-sense is tingling, as it always does with fossil isotope studies: Where is the certainty that the little foram skeletons are not somehow altered by just being OLD? Can these operators please assuage this concern? I’m a little dubious that these vaunted ratios could be of any use after taphonomy and diagenesis have had their go at the carbonate rocks surrounding the forams.

  66. The authors are assuming that the only variable is CO2. However a quick look at the map shows that there is another, much more important one.

  67. Wait…he studied forams to come up with this? How did these calcareous shelled critters survive what must have been (per the dogma) highly acidic seas?

  68. Dr. Easterbrook:

    Could you submit your comment to “Geology”? I think they need to see dissenting opinion such as yours.

    Regards,

    Mark H.

  69. Another Geo’s Take says:
    September 26, 2013 at 10:05 am

    You might enjoy the discussion of Cretaceous coccoliths in the recent “IPCC on Acid” thread.

  70. Mark Hladik says:
    September 26, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Dr. Easterbrook:

    Could you submit your comment to “Geology”? I think they need to see dissenting opinion such as yours.

    Regards,

    Mark H.

    Seconded. This is ridiculous. Antarctica’s position then, Isthmus of Panama, Ordovician ice age high co2 etc. I am not a geologist but these are the things that immediately came to mind. I’m sure a geologist can do much better than me.

  71. Here is a chart showing Temperatures and all CO2 estimates over the last 750 million years. This Cretaceous period is often described as the “Cretaceous Hothouse”.

    And here are (most of) the estimates of sea level over the last 580 million years.

  72. Prior to the EAGW mania peer reviewed papers supported the assertion that there was a lack of correlation of atmospheric CO2 and past ice epochs. Recently the EAGW paradigm pushers have been revising geological science to attempt to make the observations fit the EAGW paradigm.

    Inappropriate modification and revisions of proxy data and analysis, to fit a hypothesis is a common problem in all fields of science. The revisions in the case of CO2 Vs Temperature is challenging as there are sets of observations that show a lack of correlation of levels atmospheric CO2 and planetary. (Wack a mole problem.)

    Prior to the revisions there was agreement that there were four ice epochs (cold periods, we are living in an interglacial period of the fourth ice epoch).

    http://mysite.science.uottawa.ca/idclark/courses/Veizer%20Nature%202001.pdf

    “Evidence for decoupling of atmospheric CO2 and global climate during the Phanerozoic eon
    But our data conflict with a temperature reconstruction using an energy balance model that is forced by reconstructed atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations18. The results can be reconciled if atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations were not the principal driver of climate variability on geological timescales for at least one-third of the Phanerozoic eon, or if the reconstructed carbon dioxide concentrations are not reliable.”

    The alternative mechanism as to what causes the ice epochs is increased GCR (galactic cosmic rays which is the confusing term that is used for the mostly high speed protons which create cloud forming ions in the atmosphere) which occurs when the solar system passes through the plane of our galaxy.

    http://ruby.fgcu.edu/courses/twimberley/EnviroPhilo/Phanerozoic.pdf

    Celestial driver of Phanerozoic climate?

    http://www.eike-klima-energie.eu/uploads/media/Shaviv.pdf

    On climate response to changes in the cosmic ray flux and radiative budget

    William:
    Real time observations (planetary temperature change over the next few years) will resolve the question is CO2 the primary driver of planetary climate or is cloud modulation by solar magnetic cycle changes and long term GCR changes the primary driver: 1) Unequivocal cooling (caused by increased cloud cover not due to TSI changes) caused by increased GCR, caused by the solar magnetic cycle 24 slowdown, 2) the resumption of significant warming, or 3) lukewarm warming , will settle which hypothesis is or is not correct.

  73. Reblogged this on Public Secrets and commented:
    The author of the study makes an intellectual error by implying that rising CO2 levels caused an ice-free Earth; correlation, after all, is not necessarily causation — did the CO2 rise precede or follow the ice-free state, or were they both effects of another cause (solar cycles, for example)? Still, the basic research is interesting and the map of Cretaceous Earth is neat.

  74. What they purposely leave out is during the late ORDOVICIAN PERIOD , CO2 levels were around 4000 ppm , and the earth experienced an iceage.

    A more likley reason why the CRETACEOUS PERIOD was ice free was due to the land/ocean geographical arrangements which were arranged in a way which would not promote the formation of icecaps.

    Unlike today’s arangement which is much more liely to produce icecaps.

    This article is ridiculous.

  75. Phineas Fahrquar says:
    September 26, 2013 at 11:46 am

    CO2 was much higher than now during the LK, but its concentration was falling, not rising. It had been even higher at the LJ/EK boundary.

  76. Must have been all those factories and fossil fuel burning that caused the increase in CO2 that caused the temperature to be so high. Then “man” became extinct…then started all over again some 4 million years ago.

    Do I need the sarc?

  77. The absence of several mountain ranges should be a mention as without the Himalayas lots of warm tropical air would flow north moderating the now Asian continent. Same for the Alps.

  78. “In our study, we found that during the Late Cretaceous Period, when carbon dioxide levels were around 1,000 ppm, there were no continental ice sheets on earth. So, if carbon dioxide levels continue to rise, the earth will be ice-free once the climate comes into balance with the higher levels.”

    The monstrous idiocy of this paper is concentrated in the single word “so”. How can any serious student of palaeohistory glibly assume that the relationship between CO2 and temperature is so rigidly linear that one can simply read off temperature from CO2 and CO2 from temperature.

    The real relationship between palaeo temperatures and CO2 levels in air is shown in this figure:

    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/34/7ty.png/

    The “so” in this paper is

    SO non-sequitur
    SO shallow
    SO fatuous
    SO banale
    SO ignorant
    SO mendacious
    SO lazy
    SO dishonest
    SO complacent
    SO plain wrong
    SO AGW

  79. David Gladstone says:
    September 26, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Carbon dioxide in the air might even have been higher than that during the Ordovician glaciation, but that wasn’t the last one. During the longer Carboniferous/Permian glaciation, CO2 concentrations were similar to now, although higher than during Pleistocene glacial phases, as we’re in an interglacial. However, during the Jurassic/Cretaceous cold phase, which might have produced a full-on glaciation were the continents placed differently or had there been less sea floor volcanism, CO2 levels were much higher than now, but probably lower than during the Ordovician.

    Our present Cenozoic glaciation began when CO2 was higher than now. There is little to no correlation between CO2 & glaciations, except that prolonged cold will tend to pull atmospheric levels down into the oceans (gas that is, not heat). It’s more an effect than a cause.

  80. This geologist must not really have been studying the Cretaceous Era.
    This work reads more like the Meretricious Era.

  81. I think that these people should stop asking questions that they cannot answer.If all there is to back up your view of the way temperatures are going in the next hundred years are computer models then you don’t have any answers .It is not neccesary to have multiple Earths to experiment with if we keep our objectives simple ,it is possible that they misunderstand our real Earth by simulating many false Earths.

  82. “So, if carbon dioxide levels continue to rise, the earth will be ice-free once the climate comes into balance with the higher levels.”

    When the dust settles, what is going to happen to all these disgraced scientists? I wonder if there is going to be some kind of reformation in science like there was in Christianity. Maybe Al Gore will donate all his climate scam profits to charity.

  83. Two comments I would like to make;

    1.Quote –

    “This finding could help >> environmentalists << and scientists predict what the earth’s climate will be as carbon dioxide levels continue to rise.

    environmentalists ?

    2. "carbon dioxide levels were 1,000 ppm"

    do they realise that the rise in co2 was caused by the high temps, not the other way round?

    shakes head

  84. johnnycrash says:
    September 26, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    Maybe forgiveness panels a la South Africa for apartheid apparatchiks.

    A Crooks says:
    September 26, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    The drop stones are better evidence of land ice.

    Surprised your site doesn’t mention Muttaburrasaurus, star of the small screen, thought by some to migrate seasonally:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muttaburrasaurus

    Its distant relatives, the Late Cretaceous hadrosaurs of North America, are similarly thought possibly to have migrated back & forth from Alaska to Alberta & Montana.

    This execrable paper should have been strangled in its cradle. The author’s actual foram findings could have been presented without the idiotic CO2 genuflection, but then maybe wouldn’t have been worth publishing.

  85. Would like to see a discussion about what makes CO2 levels decrease by large amounts–apart from solution in cooling seas. If the K4 boundary was truly a catistrophic impact event that exterminated the dinosaurs along with much else and did it with an extreme winter effect on the vegetation, what caused CO2 levels to subsequently decrease and not increase?

  86. The Franklin Expedition perished in these waters. One wonders how they even contemplated that such a forcing was possible. With a paucity of records they can only have submitted to folk memory, a suggestion that our ancestors had knowledge of an ice free period. We therefore do not have to refer back to pre-history to validate our stance on the enigma of solid state planet. While the Guardian newspaper calls for scientific leadership on the AGW debate we have seen a tendency for the urgency of corroboration as opposed to scrutiny of the fundamentals. Idle science is more likely to attribute that bit where “the dragons be” to AGW because of slack practice, the fear of being ostracised, loss of income through none conformity and a desire to prove a thesis rather than challenge it; we have the phlogiston conceptualisation all over again. There is a romantic interloper dominating incisive thought; when the public broadcaster in Britain determines that AGW is an un-opposable reality and refuses to consider any other scenario we are drawn to the conclusion that AGW may be little other than a situation where romance and temper, the communication of science to the mass, the necessity for drama and urgency, the idea of popular heroes and their dauntless heroism pertain rather than boring old facts and dull toil. AGW becomes a literary work, a novel where whatever has gone before can be sacrificed to the denouement, the coercion of a tale or fable to fit popular mythology and the romantic inclinations not of a hard nose scientific community but a literary, wordy, passionate sensitivity that has little time for data, time, analysis and self-absorption. The story of climate has been turned into Beowulf with all its dramatic turns, it monsters and heroes and it is a thing which science has to pander to or stand the chance of not being heard (it is already showing signs of terminal conformity and loss of rigour). The communication industry has attached to the debate in such a way that it can editorialise any factors that do not agree with its building of tension and its articulation of passion. Science becomes a middle-ground, middle-brow occupation that reflects the accretion of political thought to the centre where to blacken, question, dismantle or defect is seen as socially unacceptable in a value system that knows what it likes and dislikes and sets the agenda to reflect such environments. The enemy becomes the minority. The centre has to be right! In this way it spoon feeds a constituency that is forcing science to be compliant whereas science should be sceptical by nature and able to refute sentiment.

  87. Bill Illis (26 Sept 2013 11:15 AM):

    The link aside, can you supply the original reference, or verify that these are the original references?

    I’m not disagreeing with you or the data. I would prefer to look at the original if possible. If one is going to cite what is shown, it is helpful to be able to cite the original.

    Thanks,

    Mark H.

  88. “Measuring the ratios of different isotopes of oxygen and carbon in the fossils gives scientists information about past temperatures and other environmental conditions.”

    Oxygen isotopes present in the water at the time of biomineralization do not necessarily mean the same isotopes will be present in the shell. The biomineralization process is more complex than that.

    Oxygen isotopes present in shells could be part of the fossilization process. But how much and how long did fossilization take?

    There are about 250,000 species of known forams, and the new claims for their usefulness in dating sediment is far fetched, since the assumptions of an evolutionary/time relationship between so many species is just assumed in a layered sediment sample.

  89. “COLUMBIA, Mo. – For years, scientists have thought that a continental ice sheet formed during the Late Cretaceous Period more than 90 million years ago when the climate was much warmer than it is today. Now, a University of Missouri researcher has found evidence suggesting that no ice sheet formed at this time. This finding could help environmentalists and scientists predict what the earth’s climate will be as carbon dioxide levels continue to rise.”

    Obviously they have had a structured revolution and a little paradigm shift in geology. It looks to be quite fruitful for them already! New dates, new evidence, new drivers, disappeared ice caps, all in one fruitful structured swell foop.

  90. For an another view of the late Cretaceous world climate see the following British Geological Survey article in Earthwise by Ian Wilkinson and Jim Riding (2007) The Cretaceous greenhouse world, Earthwise Issue 24, 32-33.

    Several lines of geological evidence, including fossil plants, suggest that, after the peak Cretaceous greenhouse warmth, palaeoclimates cooled considerably during the Maastrichtian (latest Cretaceous) between about 71 and 65 million years ago. It is possible that this cooling was, at times, so severe that high latitude regions suffered short-term glaciations; these would have caused sea-level changes world-wide. This challenges the prevailing view that the late Cretaceous greenhouse world was entirely ice-free, implying instead that short-term glacial climates may have punctuated this supposedly stable, warm climate.

  91. The statement that because there was no ice in the late cretaceous at a time when there was 1000ppm carbon dioxide in the atmosphere means that WHENEVER there is 1000ppm carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, then no ice can be present, does to me seem a slightly dubious sleight of hand.

    If the consequence of warming oceans and air temperatures was the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, that is one thing. Injected carbon dioxide into the air at another, fixed temperature, does not necessarily recreate the original cretaceous conditions, does it??

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