New Paper: PETM Was Caused by Climate Change… Ancient Climate Change Caused Climate Change… AEUHHH????

PETM = Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum

Guest Aeuhhh???? by David Middleton

“Ancient climate change triggered warming that lasted thousands of years”…

Climate change caused climate change???

Ancient climate change triggered warming that lasted thousands of years

Matthew Carroll
January 21, 2019
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A rapid rise in temperature on ancient Earth triggered a climate response that may have prolonged the warming for many thousands of years, according to scientists.

Their study, published online in Nature Geoscience, provides new evidence of a climate feedback that could explain the long duration of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), which is considered the best analogue for modern climate change.

The findings also suggest that climate change today could have long-lasting impacts on global temperature even if humans are able to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

“We found evidence for a feedback that occurs with rapid warming that can release even more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere,” said Shelby Lyons, a doctoral student in geosciences at Penn State. “This feedback may have extended the PETM climate event for tens or hundreds of thousands of years. We hypothesize this is also something that could occur in the future.”

Increased erosion during the PETM, approximately 56 million years ago, freed large amounts of fossil carbon stored in rocks and released enough carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere to impact temperatures long term, researchers said.

[…]

Global temperatures increased by about 9 to 14.4 degrees Fahrenheit during the PETM, radically changing conditions on Earth. Severe storms and flooding became more common, and the warm, wet weather led to increased erosion of rocks.

[…]

Lyons was studying PETM core samples from Maryland, in a location that was once underwater, when she discovered traces of older carbon that must have once been stored in rocks on land. She initially believed the samples were contaminated, but she found similar evidence in sediments from other Mid-Atlantic sites and Tanzania.

Carbon in these samples did not share common isotope patterns of life from the PETM and appeared oily, as if it been heated over long periods of time in a different location.

“That told us what we were looking at in the records was not just material that was formed during the PETM,” Lyons said. “It was not just carbon that had been formed and deposited at that time, but likely represented something older being transported in.”

[…]

They estimated the climate feedback could have released enough carbon dioxide to explain the roughly 200,000-year duration of the PETM, something that has not been well understood.

[…]

Penn State News

This actually looks like some really good science turned into press release psychobabble.  So, first, I will ridicule the press release.

Press Release Psychobabble

Only a delusional alarmist half-wit would describe the PETM as any sort of “analogue for modern climate change”, much less the “best” analog (which does not end with -ue on this side of the Atlantic Ocean, except maybe in Canada).

 

Cenozoic_CO2

Cenozoic_CO2_leg

Figure 1.  Cenozoic CO2 atmospheric mixing ratio and seawater partial pressure.  Notice the huge difference between atmospheric CO2 and pCO2.  Also notice that pCO2 was higher before and after the PETM and that stomata data indicate that CO2 was about what it is today, apart from a short duration spike to about 800 ppmv 55.2 Mya.  Talk about settled science! Note: Older is to the right.  Tirpati should be Tripati.

Note how the PETM (55 Ma) is about as far from a CO2 analog to modern times as it possibly could be… unless the PETM stomata data are correct, in which case AGW is even more insignificant than previously thought.

Regarding temperatures, the PETM is also about as far from being an analog to modern times as it possibly could be.

Figure 2.  High latitude SST (°C) From benthic foram δ18O.  Funny how the PETM is often cited as a nightmarish version of a real-world RCP8.5… While the warmer EECO is a climatic optimum. (Zachos et al., 2001). Note: Older is to the right.

Note that the Early Eocene Climatic Optimum (EECO) was just as warm as the PETM and lasted longer.

To demonstrate how utterly ridiculous it is to describe the PETM as an analog for modern climate change, we just have to look at the Miocene Epoch, which was much cooler than the PETM and EECO.

Figure 3. High latitude SST (°C) From benthic foram δ18O (Zachos, et al., 2001) and HadSST3 ( Hadley Centre / UEA CRU via www.woodfortrees.org) plotted at same scale, tied at 1950 AD.  Note: older is to the left.

Bear in mind that the HadSST3 data are of much higher resolution than the δ18O time series.  The amplitude of the proxy time series on multi-decadal to centennial time-scales should be considered to be the minimum of the true variability on those time-scales, due to the much lower resolution than the instrumental data (Ljungqvist, F.C. 2010).  Despite this, the modern ~1 °C rise since pre-industrial times doesn’t even break out of the Pleistocene noise level… another 1 °C rise won’t even break out of the Pleistocene noise level.

The PETM is also often cited as an analog for Chicken Little of the Sea

 

Cenozoic_pH

Figure 4.  Cenozoic seawater pH from boron isotopes in planktonic foraminifera (modified after Pearson & Palmer, 2000). Note that pH was lower than the PETM 51.5 (EECO) and 59.5 Ma. Note: Older is to the right.  As with temperatures, the amplitude of the proxy time series on multi-decadal to centennial time-scales should be considered to be the minimum of the true variability on those time-scales, due to the much lower resolution than the instrumental data.

I literally couldn’t make this sort of schist up if I was trying.

Some Really Good Science

Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum prolonged by fossil carbon oxidation

Abstract

A hallmark of the rapid and massive release of carbon during the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum is the global negative carbon isotope excursion. The delayed recovery of the carbon isotope excursion, however, indicates that CO2 inputs continued well after the initial rapid onset, although there is no consensus about the source of this secondary carbon. Here we suggest this secondary input might have derived partly from the oxidation of remobilized sedimentary fossil carbon. We measured the biomarker indicators of thermal maturation in shelf records from the US Mid-Atlantic coast, constructed biomarker mixing models to constrain the amount of fossil carbon in US Mid-Atlantic and Tanzania coastal records, estimated the fossil carbon accumulation rate in coastal sediments and determined the range of global CO2 release from fossil carbon reservoirs. This work provides evidence for an order of magnitude increase in fossil carbon delivery to the oceans that began ~10–20 kyr after the event onset and demonstrates that the oxidation of remobilized fossil carbon released between 102 and 104 PgC as CO2 during the body of the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum. The estimated mass is sufficient to have sustained the elevated atmospheric CO2 levels required by the prolonged global carbon isotope excursion. Even after considering uncertainties in the sedimentation rates, these results indicate that the enhanced erosion, mobilization and oxidation of ancient sedimentary carbon contributed to the delayed recovery of the climate system for many thousands of years.

Nature Geoscience

Some Really Good Science Is Behind a Pay-wall

Which is unfortunate, because it might just explain the Paleocene-Eocene carbon isotope excursion.

Figure 5. Figure 3. Cenozoic  δ13C (Zachos, et al., 2001)

Although the prolonged carbon isotope excursion actually occurred after the PETM, during the EECO. Isn’t it “funny”? Prior to ExxonMobil, carbon isotope excursions (depletion of δ13C) routinely accompanied periods of warming. Since ExxonMobil, carbon isotope excursions have been caused by fossil fuel combustion. Maybe climate “scientists” should adopt a new dating system… Instead of years BP, they should use years BXOM (before ExxonMobil)… That even made Mr. Data laugh!

References

 

Ljungqvist, F.C. 2010. A new reconstruction of temperature variability in the extra-tropical Northern Hemisphere during the last two millennia. Geografiska Annaler: Physical Geography, Vol. 92 A(3), pp. 339-351, September 2010. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-459.2010.00399.x

Lyons, Shelby L. & Baczynski, Allison & Babila, Tali & J. Bralower, Timothy & A. Hajek, Elizabeth & Kump, Lee & G. Polites, Ellen & Self-Trail, Jean & M. Trampush, Sheila & R. Vornlocher, Jamie & Zachos, J.C. & Freeman, Katherine. (2018). Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum prolonged by fossil carbon oxidation. Nature Geoscience. 12. 10.1038/s41561-018-0277-3.

Middleton, David H.  The Total Myth of Ocean Acidification, Part Deux: The Scientific Basis. WUWT. 2018

Middleton, David H.  No. The Miocene is not an example of the “last time it was as warm as it’s going to get later this century”… Argh!. WUWT. 2018

Pagani, M., J.C. Zachos, K.H. Freeman, B. Tipple, and S. Bohaty. 2005. Marked Decline in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Concentrations During the Paleogene. Science, Vol. 309, pp. 600-603, 22 July 2005.

Pearson, P. N. and Palmer, M. R.: Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations over the past 60 million years, Nature, 406, 695–699,https://doi.org/10.1038/35021000, 2000.

Royer, et al., 2001. Paleobotanical Evidence for Near Present-Day Levels of Atmospheric CO2 During Part of the Tertiary. Science 22 June 2001: 2310-2313. DOI:10.112

Tripati, A.K., C.D. Roberts, and R.A. Eagle. 2009.  Coupling of CO2 and Ice Sheet Stability Over Major Climate Transitions of the Last 20 Million Years.  Science, Vol. 326, pp. 1394 1397, 4 December 2009.  DOI: 10.1126/science.1178296

Zachos, J. C., Pagani, M., Sloan, L. C., Thomas, E. & Billups, K. Trends, rhythms, and aberrations in global climate 65 Ma to present. Science 292, 686–-693 (2001).

Advertisements

69 thoughts on “New Paper: PETM Was Caused by Climate Change… Ancient Climate Change Caused Climate Change… AEUHHH????

  1. I’ve been saying this for months now: people use “climate change” like it was a force of nature, rather than the result of long-term weather shifts.

    “Like saying wet sidewalks caused the rain,” is my favorite analogy..

    • James – it’s even more basic than that.

      It’s “Climate Change Caused Climate Change.”

      Think of it as “Wet sidewalks caused wet sidewalks” and “The rain caused the rain.”

      Got it? Glad we cleared that up.

      • ALLAN, the devil’s circles reasonings go

        CO2 caused catastrophic man made climate change

        caused CO2

        caused catastrophic man made climate change

        caused CO2

        caused catastrophic man made climate change

        caused CO2

        caused catastrophic man made climate change et cetera pp. ad nauseam

        to circle reasoning and no way out, green belivers!

        – that comes from the midst of society. –

        live with it.

  2. The climate hustle very much depends on a narrow limited exploitation of available data to the public.
    Any understanding of the larger context of the claims or of the propaganda completely destroys the gas-ligthing” attempts.

    On a very short time scale (days instead of decades) the Covington Catholic Boy’s incident last weekend is a vivid example of this type of “lack of broader context” exploit used by manipulators.

    The initial Covington incident “the video doesn’t lie” deception disseminated by BuzzFeed and CNN to trigger the outrage was a narrowly focused video, without any larger context to judge what was actually happening or had happened. Of course the mass outrage followed, just as the manipulators hoped for. And they played on existing stereotype bias by focusing on some of the teenage boys wearing MAGA baseball caps — triggering TDS episode in many viewers. They made other deceptive claims like the the Indian Chief was Vietname War veteran (he was in the USMC from 1972-1976 but not go to Vietnam) to play on sympathies for combat war veterans.

    When the much longer (time wise) videos quickly surface, with broader views of all the players there, the conclusions quickly reversed 180 degrees. The manipulators were exposed. But make no mistake, this same sort of manipulation is used in furthering the climate hustlers’ climate alarmism, only on a time scale of decades.

    With proper perspective as David Middleton shows here on PETM claims as a modern day climate analogue for our CO2 emissions, their claims fall apart on consideration of the broader context and evidence of Earth’s past climates on all time scales.

  3. “suggests” is that science or something else?

    Penn State (Michael Mann is a denizen I believe) is a cesspool of political science paid for by at least one guy who made his fortune in the oil business but became a climate crusader.

    science bought by the pound leads to headlines for the gullible

    • “Suggests” means that something is indicated. There are no, or at least very few, unique solutions in Earth Science.

      A seismic anomaly with a Class III AVO signature suggests the presence of hydrocarbons in certain types of rocks. It is a direct hydrocarbon indicator (DHI). It’s not proof that there’s oil & gas present.

      • Yep agree, DHIs are not proof that oil or gas deposits exist. Where I once worked they were called dry hole indicators after our third dry hole in a row!

        • In the Gulf of Mexico, they work pretty well, particularly in Middle Miocene and younger “rocks.” DHI’s almost work too well… makes geos lazy.

          My favorite alternate abbreviation is PUD (proved undeveloped)… PUD’s often turn out to be proved undiscovered… 🤣

  4. “Lyons was studying PETM core samples from Maryland, in a location that was once underwater, when she discovered traces of older carbon that must have once been stored in rocks on land. She initially believed the samples were contaminated, but she found similar evidence in sediments from other Mid-Atlantic sites and Tanzania.

    Carbon in these samples did not share common isotope patterns of life from the PETM and appeared oily, as if it been heated over long periods of time in a different location.

    That told us what we were looking at in the records was not just material that was formed during the PETM,” Lyons said. “It was not just carbon that had been formed and deposited at that time, but likely represented something older being transported in.”

    Do some research, jump to assumptions and conclusions to set the stage, allowing the researcher to reach conclusions based on confirmation bias.

    “The delayed recovery of the carbon isotope excursion, however, indicates that CO2 inputs continued well after the initial rapid onset, although there is no consensus about the source of this secondary carbon. Here we suggest this secondary input might have derived partly from the oxidation of remobilized sedimentary fossil carbon. We measured the biomarker indicators of thermal maturation in shelf records from the US Mid-Atlantic coast, constructed biomarker mixing models

    Good science?

  5. It also looks very much as if the researchers were trying really, really hard to attribute temperature to CO2 levels primarily.

      • David,
        And you owe Brent Spiner and Paramount Pictures (franchise owners) some royalties with how often you have to use LtCmdr Data laughing hysterically with the endless parade of climate change claim absurdities you highlight for our entertainment here at WUWT … 🙂

        • I owe most of my scientific philosophy to Star Trek and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy… 🤣

        • There are provisions in the copyright acts of various countries which would probably allow this sort of limited use.

          • I believe joel’s tongue in cheek comment was indicating that the use isn’t so limited when it’s use is so frequent. In short he wasn’t seriously suggesting royalties owed do much as he was humorously pointing out how frequently absurdities in need of highlighting are in so-called climate science.

  6. Not so surprising, “climate change” is a like an angry god for those folks, and medieval philosophers like St. Thomas Aquinas said that God is “the first cause not caused”. =)

    • During the PETM, plants had plenty of CO2. During glacial phases of the Pleistocene, plant food levels in the air did get dangerously low, ie c. 180 ppm.

      • Apart from a few benthic foram’s, life was “happy” during the PETM… and many of the foram’s “recovered” from extinction!

  7. “Global temperatures increased by about 9 to 14.4 degrees Fahrenheit during the PETM …”.
    ==========================================
    The PETM temperature spike in Arctic SST looks only about 2C which according to, ahem Wiki, was caused by a “massive carbon injection” of 2000 – 7000 GtC compared to human emissions of ~550 GtC since 1870.

    • It’s really difficult to guess how much warmer it really was. Different proxies yield different results. And it’s pretty well impossible to directly relate those proxy-derived temperatures with the instrumental record.

      Even the PETM “carbon” is all over the place.

      About the only things that are fairly certain are that the PETM-EECO was probably the warmest period of the Cenozoic Era, The North Atlantic LArge Igneous Province formed, biodiversity was on steroids and Chicken Little of the Sea was real back then (the lysocline shoaled – a lot).

    • We actually have no idea how much carbon was involved, since we do not know the origin and isotopic signature of the extra carbon. With this new theory I make it at least nine different mechanisms have been suggested:

      1. Cometary impact
      2. Direct volcanism (the North Atlantic Magmatic Province)
      3. Bake-out of organics from sediments by the North Atlantic Magmatic Province
      4. Large-scale peat fires
      5. Oxidation of uplifted organics-rich sediment (the North Atlantic Magmatic Province again)
      6. Large-scale melting of permafrost in inland Antarctica
      7. Methane hydrate dissolution (either by warmer seas or the good ol’ North Atlantic Magmatic Province)
      8. Large scale ocean turn-over
      9. Oxidation of fossil coal through increased erosion

      Each of these would yield different results as to the amount of carbon involved, and if more than one mechanism was involved you could get just about any result you want.

  8. David,

    “Only a delusional alarmist half-wit would describe the PETM (as)? any sort of “analogue for modern climate change”

    Great job, as always… : )

  9. David,

    “Although the prolonged carbon isotope excursion actually occurred after the PETM, during the EECO. Isn’t it “funny”? Prior to ExxonMobil, carbon isotope excursions (depletion of δ13C) routinel (routinely?) accompanied periods of warming.

    Still a great post… lol

  10. Again, I object to your name-calling the PR writer as “a delusional alarmist half-wit…” You do this in many of your “ridicule” essays. Better to ridicule the PR, not the person.
    Every time you do this it wins you no points with anyone except the choir to whom you are preaching. It is counter-productive.

    • If the PR is delusional, alarmist, and half-witted, how does that not reflect on the writer? Spare us!

    • If you stand up in the foxhole, you should expect your head to be shot off. Anybody writing warmist PR is in the middle of the war and deserves everything they get.

    • Well, if the “PR writer” acts like a “delusional alarmist half-wit”, then they probably deserve to be ridiculed as a “delusional alarmist half-wit”……D’OH !

  11. David, maybe you could answer this for me. I’ve mapped rocks in glaciated country a lot, St. Elias Mtns and Juneau Icefields–and always noticed the pink algae that grows on snow every summer. I also got quite good at making my own wine, and am well aware that bacteria (yeast) eats sugars and ‘farts CO2’. I also remember when in grad studies (mid 70’s) taking the monthly-meeting lecturer to dinner who was on the first Alvin dive, before his GAC talk, and learning of the life growing in extremes at black smokers; it is now apparent that bacteria can survive at low-temperature extremes also.

    So if bacteria existed with algae buried in ice, what can CO2 measurements from ice cores be worth? Aren’t such numbers contaminated by unknown factors?

  12. This is starting to really piss me off. These climate scientists read this blog and they understand how we skeptics destroy every paper they bring out. They are getting better at hiding everything in their reports. At first I thought that this was a 1st rate study because of the use of actual proxy data. However witness the following from the study.

    ” CO2 budgets during sediment transport will be improved by future studies that better constrain CO2 drawdown from changes in terrestrial biosphere C burial. Using available data and modelled total CO2 release scenarios from fossil C oxidation over the PETM body,”

    The above says 3 things to me. 1) They have no idea how much net CO2 was in the atmosphere and the different proxy studies prove that. 2) They have no idea of the magnitude of exchange of CO2 between the atmosphere and terrestrial surface. 3) They admitted that they used a computer model to calculate CO2 release scenariosbut there was no further explanation of this.

    Again from the study:

    “Additionally, although carbon remobilization can be a CO2 source when fossil C is oxidized,
    transport systems also remove CO2 when biosphere carbon is buried and removed from the active carbon cycle. This study does not address how the PETM perturbations might have shifted the
    relative balance of these processes, but it does demonstrate that the intensity and timescales on which erosion and transport systems both release and drawdown CO2 are critical to our understanding of carbon cycling during the PETM.”

    So in effect they are admitting that the study was useless because they parameterized equations for release of CO2 and then used computer models with many assumptions and did not even attempt to look at the drawdown of CO2 from the atmosphere.

  13. This is a quite peculiar theory, since the ”party line” is that increased erosion will draw down CO2, not increase it. Indeed the “party line” explanation for the shift to icehouse climate at the end of the Eocene is that it was due to CO2 drawdown caused by increased erosion of the rising Himalayas. So apparently erosion had opposite effects at the beginning and the end of the Eocene.
    It is however an elegant solution to the biggest problem with using the PETM as a prime scare object, the fact that the heating started several thousand years before the coal isotope excursion that is supposed to prove that CO2 was the culprit.

    By introducing a second completely different CO2 source that only comes into play well into the PETM, the original warming can be quietly ignored or assigned to some mechanism that produces CO2 without the biological isotope signature (e g cometary impact).

    Another problem with this theory is that for it to work, the amount of fossil coal that is oxidized on the way from erosion site to continental shelf must be considerably larger than the amount of carbon of recent biological origin being carried and buried at the same time, which seems highly unlikely.

  14. It is really sad that they get away with this garbage. Yes, you guys do a great job of beating them back, but there does not seem to be any downside to the liars making the idiotic claims.

Comments are closed.