AR6 and The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum

By Andy May

The PETM or Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum was a warm period that began between 56.3 and 55.9 Ma (million years ago). The IPCC AR6 report (actually a draft, not a final edited report), released to the public on August 9, 2021, suggests that this warm period is similar to what is happening today and they expect to happen in the future (IPCC, 2021, pp. 2-82 & 5-14). During the PETM, it was very warm and average global surface temperatures probably peaked between 25.5°C and 26°C briefly, compared to a global surface temperature average of about 14.5°C today, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. The estimated global average surface temperature for the past 150 million years. Modified from: Christopher Scotese, the Paleomap Project, link.

Today we have tens of thousands of daily temperature measurements around the world and can calculate a fairly accurate global average surface temperature. To construct a global average for the PETM we must rely on proxy temperatures, such as oxygen isotope ratios, Calcium/Magnesium ratios in fossil shells, and fossil membrane lipids that are sensitive to temperature like Tex86. Proxy temperature values are sparsely located and have a temporal resolution, 56 Ma, of thousands to hundreds of thousands of years. Thus, in terms of rate of temperature change, they are not comparable to today’s monthly global averages.

Before diving into the PETM, we will provide some geological perspective. According to Christopher Scotese, the highest global average temperature in the Phanerozoic (the age of complex shelled organisms, or the past 550 million years) was the Triassic hothouse event, following the end of the Karoo Ice Age, around 250-300 Ma. Global average surface temperatures peaked then at about 27.9°C.

The Late Cretaceous was the next warm period and global temperatures reached 24°C by 80 Ma. Around 65 Ma, the famous Chicxulub bolide impact occurred near the Yucatan Peninsula creating a 100 million megaton blast that ended the dinosaurs, except for birds. Global temperatures decreased rapidly to a minimum of around 12°C. This is a little colder than the last glacial maximum, so the animals that survived the blast got hit with the cold. This cold period was brief, perhaps only ten years, but very cold.

After recovering from the blast, the world returned to a global surface temperature of 22°C, just above its Phanerozoic average surface temperature of 20°C. Then, about nine million years later, the PETM warming occurred, it is labeled in Figure 1. In addition to the PETM, the EECO (Early-Eocene Climatic Optimum, mismarked in Scotese’s figure as EEOC), the MECO (Middle-Eocene Climatic Optimum), the EOT (Eocene-Oligocene Transition) Cooling, MMCO (Middle-Miocene Climatic Optimum), the LGM (last glacial maximum), and the preindustrial (Little Ice Age) temperature of 13.8° are identified in Figure 1. The current global average surface temperature of 14.5°C, and the possible “PAW” or projected anthropogenic global warming temperature of 19.8°C are also identified. Even if the most extreme projected anthropogenic warming occurs, it only takes Earth to its Phanerozoic average temperature of 20°C. This gives us an idea of just how historically, or geologically, cold it really is today.

Mixing proxy temperature resolutions of hundreds of thousands of years and modern instrumental temperature averages must be done with care. Scotese’s proxy temperatures are based on geological glacial signatures and estimated equator-to-pole temperature gradients. They are reasonable, but they have a temporal resolution of tens-of-millions of years. Given this resolution, we cannot compare past rates of warming, or cooling, to the past 170 years, the period with daily global thermometer coverage. His points do not have the temporal resolution or accuracy to allow for that.

The PETM


Near the beginning of the EECO, there was an abrupt, but geologically short (< ~200,000 years) period of extreme warming usually called the “PETM” (Scotese, 2015). The PETM is the warmest of several short, very warm periods or “hyperthermals” that occurred in the late Paleocene and early Eocene between 56 and 53 Ma.

The PETM hyperthermal may have caused Earth’s surface to warm to nearly 26°C (79°F) at its peak, nearly 12°C warmer than today. At this time, SSTs (sea surface temperatures) reached 33°C in the North Atlantic, near Denmark (Stokke, Jones, Tierney, Svensen, & Whiteside, 2020). The PETM latitude of Denmark was about 45°N, south of its present latitude of 55.6°N, see Figure 3 for its location at the time. The warming is contemporaneous with a small-scale marine extinction event. The high temperatures also occur at about the same time as a carbon isotopic excursion (CIE) event. This means the carbon-13 and carbon-12 ratio changed abruptly for a short time, geologically. The CIE suggests a flow of carbon compounds, enriched in carbon-12, into the ocean and atmosphere. Hydrocarbons are enriched in carbon-12 because plants prefer it over carbon-13, so the source could be hydrocarbons, such as methane clathrates. Clathrates are compounds in which molecules of one component, in this case methane, are trapped in another, like water. Methane clathrates are sometimes called methane hydrates.

Figure 2. The section studied by Stokke, Fur Island, Denmark. Figure modified after (Stokke, Jones, Tierney, Svensen, & Whiteside, 2020).

Figure 2 shows the section studied by Stokke, et al. There is an unconformity below the section, but the PETM deposit is thought to be complete. Sedimentation was very rapid and the entire 24-meter PETM section was probably deposited in 100,000 years. NAIP (North Atlantic Igneous Province, see Figure 3) ash deposits within the PETM body are dated to 55.6 Ma. Contemporaneously ocean pH and deep-ocean oxygen levels lowered (anoxia) (IPCC, 2021, p 2-82).

It is only barely visible in Figure 2, but after the unconformity, and just prior to the PETM warming event, North Sea SSTs drop to 14.5°C, before rising rapidly to 33°C. Today’s global, area-weighted, average SST is about 18.3°C, using NOAA MIMOC and University of Hamburg multiyear ocean mixed layer temperature data. Today’s average North Sea SST is about 11°C according to Climate-Data.org, so the temperature of 14.5°C prior to the PETM is a little warmer than today. According to NOAA MIMOC data, the global average SST, in the mixed layer, at 45°N is about 10°C today.

NAIP volcanism was active during and before the PETM. Basalts, five kilometers thick, were emplaced on eastern Greenland and the Faroe Islands between 56 and 55.6 Ma. This pre-PETM volcanic episode would have generated sulfur compounds. The sulfur compounds (such as SO2 and SO3), when combined with water, generate sulfuric acid, which cooled the atmosphere and oceans, lowered ocean pH, and removed oxygen from both the atmosphere and oceans.

Francesca McInerney and Scott Wing have also written about the PETM (McInerney & Wing, 2011). They emphasize the global impact of the event. They believe that global surface temperature increased 5-8°C. While Stokke, et al. place the beginning of the PETM at 55.9 Ma, McInerney and Wing place it at 56.0 to 56.3 Ma. The time difference is not significant, given the dating uncertainty.

The data suggests that the PETM extinctions were quite limited and coincident with a large increase in mammalian species. Approximately 30-50% of benthic (bottom dwelling) foraminifera and dinoflagellates (microscopic marine animals) went extinct. The benthic foraminifera that went extinct were mostly from the middle to deeper depths in the oceans. Some speculate that the extinctions were due to greater corrosivity of deeper waters, lower oxygen levels, and/or higher temperatures (McInerney & Wing, 2011). Other benthic animals, such as ostracodes, living in the same environment as the foraminifera did not show the same loss in numbers. McInerney and Wing speculate that the extinctions were mostly due to higher temperatures, but this is unclear. Temperatures were higher at the surface and on land, yet life thrived in these environments at the time.

Oddly, while benthic forams did not do well during the PETM, McInerney and Wing report their planktonic (floating) cousins did very well, increasing in both size and diversity. Some planktonic species greatly increased their range and numbers during the PETM.

On land, new mammals, especially primates, evolved at this time and spread widely. The PETM and EECO saw a “burst of mammalian first appearances.” The period is sometimes called the “mammalian dispersal event” (McInerney & Wing, 2011). This burst of new mammalian first appearances is seen in both North America and Europe, and coincides with the onset of the PETM CIE.

Besides mammals, the PETM and EECO saw the evolution and dispersal of numerous new and existing species of turtles and lizards. Suggestions that the PETM was so warm it was deadly in the tropics are unlikely to be true “because terrestrial floras from the tropics become more rather than less diverse during the PETM” (McInerney & Wing, 2011).

During the PETM, temperatures increased 6 to 12°C and there was no polar ice. Palm trees grew in the Arctic, and Antarctica was covered in forests. Biological diversity greatly increased during the PETM, especially among terrestrial plants (McInerney & Wing, 2011). Some plant species appeared to disappear during the PETM but reappeared later, suggesting they did not extirpate, but were simply not preserved for a short time. Many species flourished and expanded into new areas. The first occurrence of mangrove palms dates to the PETM. Overall, nature blossomed when global temperatures were likely 12°C warmer than today.

The cause of the PETM is unknown. As mentioned above, Ella Stokke’s work suggests that the warm period and the extinctions are closely related to, and possibly caused by, contemporaneous North Atlantic Igneous Province (NAIP) volcanism. The volcanism could have caused oxygen deprivation in the Atlantic Ocean, especially in the deep Atlantic, causing the benthic foraminifera extinctions. The NAIP region and the Fur Island, Denmark, area studied by Stokke and her colleagues are shown in Figure 3. The Fur Island outcrops provide a fairly complete geological record spanning the Paleocene-Eocene boundary. The sediments include volcanic ash beds from NAIP, fossil-rich claystones, and shales with clear records of the carbon isotope excursion and the PETM event. They used the TEX86 temperature proxy to estimate SST. The NAIP emplacement was most active between 56 and 54 Ma during the opening of the North Atlantic.


Figure 3. The North Atlantic Igneous Province and Stokke’s study area. Modified from: E.A.M. van de Lisdonk, Utrecht University.

Many theories for the warming have been proposed, including a sudden release of CO2 and methane, but the evidence is ambiguous. Initially it was speculated that volcanism caused the release of a large amount of methane clathrates, which then caused temperatures to rise.

A lot of carbon dioxide and methane certainly entered the atmosphere during this time. The main problem with the methane clathrate theory is that there were not enough of them to supply the necessary carbon (McInerney & Wing, 2011). Other possible sources of the excess carbon in the atmosphere and oceans at the time, enriched in carbon-12, are volcanism and contact metamorphism in the NAIP (Stokke, Jones, Tierney, Svensen, & Whiteside, 2020). McInerney and Wing prefer the theory that Antarctic peat and permafrost melted and were the source of the excess carbon-12.

While total atmospheric carbon did increase in the PETM, climate models have not been able to reproduce the large temperature increase with reasonable parameters. The CO2 estimates (see Figure 4) that we have from the period are far too low. Even if the atmosphere is assumed to contain 16 times the preindustrial concentration of CO2 (4,800 ppm) many times the level suggested by the fossil evidence shown in Figure 4, and the climate sensitivity is assumed to be 3°C/2xCO2 (McInerney & Wing, 2011), the CO2 forcing is still not enough to cause the warming observed in the sedimentary record (IPCC, 2021, 5-14). The abbreviation “°C/2xCO2” means the rise in temperature due to doubling the CO2 atmospheric concentration.

NASA claims their simulations can model the PETM temperature rise if they incorporate very high CO2 sensitivity. Jiang Zhu and colleagues successfully simulated the PETM with existing data, but their model suggests a climate sensitivity of 6.6°C/2xCO2, which is not reasonable (Zhu, Poulsen, & Tierney, 2019). The IPCC AR6 very likely range of sensitivity is 2°C to 5°C/2xCO2 (IPCC, 2021, pp. TS-58). In AR5, the IPCC is more explicit: “ECS is very unlikely greater than 6°C is an expert judgment informed by several lines of evidence.” (IPCC, 2013, p. 1111). AR5 follows with a list of the evidence why ECS is not greater than 6.

Figure 4. Stokke’s Danish Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are shown in blue and Beerling’s CO2 estimates are shown with orange boxes.

Between 55 and 56 Ma, there are 16 proxy estimates of CO2 levels (Beerling & Royer, 2011, S.I. Table 1). The 16 proxy samples represent seven unique sample times, which are plotted in Figure 4. According to a summary paper by David Beerling and Dana Royer in Nature Geoscience, the CO2 concentration was about 487 ppm (328-667 ppm) during the PETM event. The dating error for the samples is estimated to be ±500,000 years and the error in the CO2 estimates is ±235 ppm (Beerling & Royer, 2011). There are four methods of determining ancient CO2 atmospheric concentrations according to Beerling and Royer. The two terrestrial methods are the abundance of stomatal pores on fossil leaves and the carbon isotope composition of carbonates in fossil soils. Leaf stomata reduce in number when CO2 becomes abundant and gain in number when it is lower, as it is today.

The two marine methods are the carbon isotope composition of phytoplankton fossils and the boron isotope composition of fossil foraminifera. I refer you to Beerling and Royer’s paper and their references for the details of how these methods work. There is also a decent summary in AR6 (IPCC, 2021, 2-15). The general uncertainty in CO2 concentration estimates in the Eocene is nearly 100%, that is the actual value is between twice the most likely value and half of it.

Stokke’s Denmark SSTs are also plotted in Figure 4 for comparison. The CO2 estimates are somewhat lower than other PETM estimates and only slightly higher than today, but global average temperatures were 10-12°C higher.

Today we measure atmospheric CO2 continuously, many times a day, and each sample has a precise date and time. The data from 56 Ma is obviously not comparable to today. Beerling and Royer claim the highest CO2 level occurred 52 Ma, over four million years after the PETM, see Figure 5. They have two CO2 estimates from that time period: 1,868 ppm (1,092 – 3.501 ppm) and 659 ppm (439 – 878 ppm). Elevated CO2 levels existed from 54 to 32 Ma and average around 800 ppm. The lack of correlation between increasing CO2 and temperature from the period 52 to 57 Ma is easily seen in Figure 4.

Figure 5. Various estimates of CO2 concentration in the Cenozoic. After: (Beerling & Royer, 2011).

During the PETM, we can be confident that CO2 levels were only slightly higher than today, not high enough to be a significant factor in the warming event, as acknowledged in AR6 (IPCC, 2021, p 5-14). We certainly do not have any idea about the rate of PETM warming or the rate of CO2 increase, relative to today, since the estimates are thousands to hundreds of thousands of years apart.

The IPCC wants to use the PETM as an example of what can happen today, but they admit low to medium confidence in the amount of carbon released during the PETM and their inferred increase in CO2 can only account for half the estimated warming during that time (IPCC, 2021, p. 5-14). They are also trying, without success so far, to model global temperatures in the PETM. Their models of the CO2 impact on climate in the PETM and other selected periods do not predict the warming observed, so one could reasonably conclude that this means the models are not working. But, in AR6, they conclude that it means the feedbacks to surface temperature are changing with surface temperature. Thus the feedbacks have feedbacks (IPCC, 2021, p. 7-78). They do not believe the models can be incorrect, they conclude that we simply need to introduce another factor. This is Karl Popper’s definition of pseudoscience, a hypothesis that cannot be falsified. The PETM is an interesting time in geological history, but the causes of the warming, the lower ocean pH, the limited ocean extinctions, and increasing mammalian diversity are unclear. One thing for sure, the PETM is not an analogue for today.

The bibliography can be downloaded here.

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IAMPCBOB
August 18, 2021 10:09 am

So, then, am I correct in assuming that this is NOT the end of the world, as reported here and many other places by screaming half-wits? Good! I thought so.

Gary Pearse
August 18, 2021 10:19 am

Andy, thought you might like to see a sample of the PETM redwood forest near the Arctic circle in Canada. Logs of redwood, perfectly preserved were found at 300m depth in the Ekati diamond mine.

https://www.livescience.com/23374-fossil-forest-redwood-diamond-mine.html

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Gary Pearse
August 18, 2021 10:26 am

Here is what today’s tundra looks like. Hey, I’m hoping we are headed fo a N. California climate up here!
comment image

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Gary Pearse
August 18, 2021 9:27 pm

You like forest fires?

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
August 18, 2021 10:30 pm

I think there are many more activist arsonists in California and Australia. In Canada, we have a more workman-like attitude toward dealing with forest fires – fire breaks and the like.

Although, were we to get a California climate, yeah, Clyde, I’d worry about that! It might be something in the air.

Raven
Reply to  Gary Pearse
August 19, 2021 1:21 am

Yes, in Australia we have our fair share of arsonists.
And of late, it seems Turkey have plenty as well.

President Erdogan was pretty vocal about them and I wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of him.

Last edited 5 months ago by Raven
john harmsworth
Reply to  Gary Pearse
August 19, 2021 11:35 am

I don’t know about activists but they are probably not the only idiots to worry about. I read on-line that over 60% of the fires burning in B.C. were human caused. I have relatives there and I’ve made many trips. I’ve seen some incredible carelessness. The interior is very hot and dry in summer and the slopes shed water very effectively. When fires do start, those slopes act just like wind to carry flames up a mountain, with the ground usually composed of several inches of needles topped by old, dead and dried out timber and bush. The modern practices of aggressively fighting fires just adds to that tinder burden. We should be establishing more open park space and golf courses around inhabited areas as a protection against fires and then only fight fires to protect valuable timber before cutting or where people and significant amounts of valuable property are threatened.

Ron Long
Reply to  Gary Pearse
August 18, 2021 10:37 am

Great find, Gary, of PETM wood at 1,000 feet below surface in Canada. The comments in the reference are a little incomplete, however. A kimberlite pipe starts as a deep seated magma, rising toward the surface. However, it rapidly exolves gas and becomes a dry gas discharge event, which results in fragmenting the magma crystals, churning upwards to actually (commonly) form an ejecta discharge apron, and caving surface materials into the churning gas discharge pipe. The Montana Tunnels gold mine was a hydrothermal breccia pipe that failed and became a diatreme dry gas discharge, and wood remnants were found hundreds of feet down in the large open pit. Hot, dry, gas discharge during the PETM? Not enough, I’m thinking, so look for other explanation.

Vuk
Reply to  Ron Long
August 18, 2021 11:14 am

My younger one (I mentioned below) knows all about that stuff, been down deepest of the South Africa diamond mines, trailed trough Botswana savannas, flew to dredger ships off coast of Namibia, all part of the job.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Ron Long
August 18, 2021 12:28 pm

You surmised correctly, but the details are almost magical. The diamonds occur in the diamond pressure temp layer @ ~180km depth from surface in the mantle below the crust. The actual kimberlite magma erupts at 200+ km deep. The magma punches a hole through the diamond layer and entrains diamonds from it as it continues upward.

The magma is moving about 40km/h as it hits and penetrates the base of the crust accelerating all along the way. It breaks through the surface at ~1200km/h carrying (in this case) a few acres of redwood forest up above the clouds.

Nearly all this debris and magma falls back into the large hole along with debris fall from around the circumference of the hole (look at the conical mine shapes in the linked photo in my second comment) without enough time for cooling and the last gasps of the disruption solidify everything – note kimberlite stuck to one of the wood chunk surfaces.

Vuk
Reply to  Gary Pearse
August 18, 2021 2:18 pm

comment image

In laboratory artificial diamonds are grown from natural tiny micro-diamonds used to seed ‘crystallising’ process. Technology used employs high pressures and temperatures (as per phase diagram above) i.e ‘copy & paste’ natural process.

Last edited 5 months ago by Vuk
john harmsworth
Reply to  Vuk
August 19, 2021 11:46 am

Super interesting! you painted a great picture of a complex event there and did it justice. Thanks!

tty
Reply to  Ron Long
August 19, 2021 9:39 am

It has been suggested that the Kimberlite field could have caused the Carbon Isotope Excursion, it is however mostly a few million years too young.

Vuk
Reply to  Gary Pearse
August 18, 2021 10:49 am

Hi Gary,I thought Ekati diamond mine name rung a bell with me. My younger offspring flew in December couple of years ago from Yellow knife to Gahcho Kue and spent few days there and from there was suppose to fly to Ekati but they were prevented by bad weather. Got some photos of ginormous supply HGVs making it across frozen lakes, not to mention the icicles hanging from the eyebrows.comment image

Last edited 5 months ago by Vuk
Gary Pearse
Reply to  Vuk
August 18, 2021 12:40 pm

Much of Northern Canada projects are supplied by ice roads in the winter – heavy equipment, fuel modular town sites, etc.

When I was a boy (70yrs ago) entire mine, mill, towns, etc. were moved on wooden skids by bulldozers to new mine sites often 100miles away.

john harmsworth
Reply to  Gary Pearse
August 19, 2021 11:52 am

It often occurs to me that the infrastructure that was built with men’s backs and primitive machinery can for some reason barely be maintained today, with much better equipment, at many times the cost even in real dollars accounting for inflation. We seem to be devolving socially I think.

tty
Reply to  Gary Pearse
August 19, 2021 9:02 am

The Ekati Metasequoias are Early Eocene, about 2-3 million years after PETM

Chaswarnertoo
August 18, 2021 10:24 am

Why will no one admit the obvious fact that this had little to do with CO2.
Anyone looked at sun variability?

Vuk
Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
August 18, 2021 12:31 pm

Yes , many. Global warming, recently renamed ‘climate change’ is the hell and damnation and CO2 is Lucifer incarnate of the religion-nouvea. Greek philosopher Aristotle disliked and relentlessly criticised falsehoods of religions, but reasoned that it is a necessary for political rationale, else state might turn to anarchy without religious constraints on its citizens. 
Aristotle didn’t know about CO2 but had great interest in living things (unlike today’s climate scientists) wrote extensively about animals and studied plants and AFAIR he was greatly excised with a question: ‘why grape vines and fig trees lose leaves?’. His ‘Why’ always required logic ‘Because’. Aristotle is father of western logic as a basis of reasoning, a known unknown in the climate science of today. 

Last edited 5 months ago by Vuk
john harmsworth
Reply to  Vuk
August 19, 2021 12:00 pm

This is a major point of aggravation for me. Western civilization has a fantastic history of thought, reason and scientific inquiry from roots of Greek and Roman influence followed by the religious, political and justice evolution of Western Europe, whereby many imposed and accepted ideas were tested against logic and found to fail. Virtually all of this history is unknown and/or deliberately rejected by today’s Woke, Leftist, activist adherents. This rejection even extends to the professors of our esteemed institutes of learning, who should be the protectors and advocates of this structured approach to human affairs. That has to change or we really might be doomed.

John Tillman
August 18, 2021 10:31 am

Differences in continental configuration and oceanic circulation alone make PETM and current climates incomparable.

This is mid-Eocene:

http://www.scotese.com/newpage9.htm

At the PETM, Australia and South America were even closer to Antarctica, if not indeed still attached. Without the Tibetan Plateau, a deep Southern Ocean and globe-circling tropical currents, thanks to the Tethys Sea and separation of the Americas, Earth was going to be warmer in any case.

Last edited 5 months ago by John Tillman
David Middleton(@debunkhouse)
Editor
Reply to  John Tillman
August 18, 2021 10:48 am

Bingo!

With the possible exception of the Pennsylvanian (Late Carboniferous) Subperiod, you really can’t compare anything before the Oligocene to the modern climate… And anything before the Pleistocene isn’t a good comparison.

John Tillman
Reply to  David Middleton
August 18, 2021 11:15 am

The remarkable number of placental mammalian orders evolving in the late Paleocene and early Eocene shows that warmer is better, even if some marine unicells suffered.

Besides primates, such successful orders as bats, perissodactyls and artiodactyls (including cetaceans) arose then. Proboscids date from the mid-Paleocene and carnivores from the mid-Eocene.

John Tillman
Reply to  David Middleton
August 18, 2021 11:27 am

Triassic heat presumably owed to whatever caused the end Permian mass extinction, then again to the CAMP at its own end.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  John Tillman
August 18, 2021 2:55 pm

I researched the Permian extinction for Arts of Truth, but the draft got left on the final book cutting room floor, as not as simply pointed as most other examples. Almost certainly the Permian was caused by the massive Siberian traps flood basalt eruptions (over maybe a million years, in three phases), worsened by the fact these also ignited and vaporized the massive high sulfur Siberian coal deposits thru which they erupted. The combination would have been devastating both to oceans (SO2 acidification) and terrestrial climate (coal based CO2 pulses lasting many, many millennia).

John Tillman
Reply to  Rud Istvan
August 18, 2021 3:13 pm

The Traps can’t be ignored, but I’m currently leaning toward the anoxic ocean and microbial H2S school. Volcanism and other causes however aren’t mutually exclusive.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Rud Istvan
August 18, 2021 9:50 pm

Recent field work in the basalts suggest that large quantities of the coal did not burn, but were entrained in the lava as megascopic carbonaceous inclusions. The volatiles were driven off, creating toxic air, but probably the amount of CO2 was not as great as has been speculated, because of insufficient oxygen to oxidize it.

john harmsworth
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
August 19, 2021 12:26 pm

I know i have no evidence ( so maybe I should just shut up), but the coincidence of the Deccan Traps with the K-T extinction and Chicxulub impact always makes me wonder about the Siberian Traps and the possibility that an impact was involved. I believe the question of iridium associated with this event is still pretty doubtful but I did see an interesting assessment of the Chicxulub meteor that indicates it is the product of a particular interplanetary gravitational highway that should produce potential impactors approximately every 150m years. This doesn’t align with the Siberian Traps but it does somewhat with the Triassic-Jurassic extinction of around 210mya. In any case, the150m years is only an expected average but there is considerable speculation that the Bombay High formation off the coast of India may be an impact crater. The time separation between Chicxulub and the Traps is pretty close and I don’t really believe in coincidences. They have to be proven in reverse, so to speak.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  john harmsworth
August 19, 2021 6:02 pm

There are no circular topographic features or geophysical anomalies to suggest an impact for the Siberian traps. On the other hand, there appear to be feeder dikes supplying the basalt flows.

John Tillman
Reply to  john harmsworth
August 20, 2021 11:09 am

The Deccan Traps were caused by the passage of the Indian Plate over the Reunion Island Hotspot. The eruption point isn’t antipodal to the then position of the Yucatan.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  David Middleton
August 18, 2021 12:49 pm

David, the Canadian Arctic is still fairly close to the same (100km?) and a redwood forest existed where the Ekati diamond mine is. See second comment from the top:

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/08/18/ar6-and-the-paleocene-eocene-thermal-maximum/#comment-3320699

james king
Reply to  John Tillman
August 18, 2021 5:28 pm

Scotese appears to be down, which is sad, it is a delightful site.

John Tillman
Reply to  james king
August 18, 2021 6:25 pm

It worked for me.

Sad to hear that.

Bruce Cobb
August 18, 2021 10:32 am

Today’s climate is similar to the PETM in the same way that apples are like rutabagas.

Doonman
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
August 18, 2021 10:41 am

But yet, just as today, humans had absolutely nothing to do with it.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
August 18, 2021 9:53 pm

Yes, extensive laterization is not occurring today as it did during the Eocene.

David Middleton(@debunkhouse)
Editor
August 18, 2021 10:39 am

The PETM might have been due to a disassociation of methane hydrates by the NAIP. Many of the benthic forams actually recovered from extinction. The oceans didn’t actually acidify… PETM atmospheric CO2 might have been very high based on forams… Or about the same as today based on plant stomata. Am I missing anything?



Yet climate “scientists” are certain that this will happen to us if we don’t embrace Communism…

Great post Andy!

David Middleton(@debunkhouse)
Editor
Reply to  Andy May
August 18, 2021 12:02 pm

Have Excel and PowerPoint, will travel…
comment image

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Andy May
August 18, 2021 9:59 pm

Alas, there is little on TV today that can compete with those classics of the day!

David Middleton(@debunkhouse)
Editor
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
August 19, 2021 5:29 am
Clyde Spencer
Reply to  David Middleton
August 19, 2021 6:19 pm

Now that my memory is starting to decline with age, and I don’t remember all the plots, the re-runs are more tolerable.

Supposedly, one of the very few advantages to Alzheimers for married men is that they wake up with a strange woman in bed with them every morning.

David Middleton(@debunkhouse)
Editor
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
August 19, 2021 6:35 pm

There’s a funny joke here involving Viagra vs Ginkgo biloba… 😆

Last edited 5 months ago by David Middleton
beng135
Reply to  David Middleton
August 20, 2021 7:19 am

Channels 364 & 367 on Directv show some of the old westerns. I’ve become a fan of the old (first 7-8 years) Gunsmoke. Cheyenne is a good show too.

Last edited 5 months ago by beng135
Ron Long
Reply to  David Middleton
August 18, 2021 12:19 pm

David, I remember a long time ago an aunt asking a niece what Paladin’s first name was, and she answered “Wire, it says so right on his card”.

David Middleton(@debunkhouse)
Editor
Reply to  Ron Long
August 18, 2021 2:48 pm

Larry says…

i-dont-care-who-you-are-thats-funny-right-there.jpg
geo
Reply to  Ron Long
August 19, 2021 2:34 am

“On the television show, Paladin’s true name is never given. Though it remains a point of debate amongst fans, one of the tie-in books, which expands on the origin story shown in the episode “Genesis,” his real name is given as Clay Alexander. If you want to take that as canon, feel free.” From handitv.com

ATheoK
Reply to  David Middleton
August 18, 2021 2:06 pm

“Cenozoic Era Seawater PH”

At no time was it acidic. Al the time basic to slightly basic above neutral.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  David Middleton
August 18, 2021 9:58 pm

Surely you don’t expect us to believe that planktonic forams can survive in sea water with a pH of 7.4! We have been told that they will explode in effervescence if the ocean decline to a pH of less than 8.1. 🙂

AGW is Not Science
August 18, 2021 10:41 am

And once again, they simply ASSUME CO2 as a “cause” or “contributing factor,” with not a scrap of empirical evidence to that effect, and plenty of empirical evidence that it is not a climate (temperature) driver at all.

Assumptions are not “facts,” “evidence,” or “science.”

And the fact that the Earth plummeted into an ice age 450mya with 4000ppm CO2 shows the notion that it is a “driver” of climate to be complete nonsense. An ice age, with ten times the amount during the PETM, but still their hypothesis is not abandoned. As Karl Popper would have said, pure psuedoscience.

John Tillman
Reply to  AGW is Not Science
August 18, 2021 10:47 am

Climastrologists hand wave away the Ordovician-Silurian ice age by citing a four percent weaker sun, and that CO2 might have dropped between measured intervals.

Oldseadog
Reply to  John Tillman
August 18, 2021 11:55 am

In other words, it’s the sun, stupid.
CO2 has nothing to do with it.

John Tillman
Reply to  Oldseadog
August 18, 2021 1:59 pm

They let themselves have it both ways.

ATheoK
Reply to  John Tillman
August 18, 2021 2:11 pm

?? Is that alarmist-splaining?

John Tillman
Reply to  ATheoK
August 18, 2021 3:18 pm

Yes. It’s all they’ve got, so they go with it. That’s their story and they’re sticking to it!

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  John Tillman
August 19, 2021 8:03 am

Another pseudoscientist version of “The dog ate my homework.”

Jimf
Reply to  John Tillman
August 18, 2021 4:04 pm

So a weak sun had more effect than a CO2 concentration10 times higher than today.

John Tillman
Reply to  Jimf
August 18, 2021 6:26 pm

They don’t worry about the inconvenient truthful implications of their lame excuses.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  John Tillman
August 19, 2021 8:02 am

LOL. Of course, as the saying goes, “That dog don’t hunt.”

If atmospheric CO2 “traps” heat like they say it does, and invokes imaginary “positive water vapor feedback” like they say it does, then with 4000ppm CO2 Earth should have long ago become Venus; – the “4% weaker Sun” would have affected only how long it took.

Since they assume the supposed “effect” of CO2 on temperature to essentially be “instant” today, that just means it would have taken a bit longer. Since CO2 was ABOVE 4000ppm for tens of millions of years before that ice age, and was rising during that ice age, I think we can dismiss the excuse of the supposedly “weaker” Sun as irrelevant.

Someone here once quoted (unfortunately without naming the source of the quote) a geologist who summarized the climate pseudoscience quite succinctly as follows:

“If CO2 could do what they say it can do, then the Earth’s oceans would have boiled away or frozen over a long time ago.”

Anybody know who said that? Such eloquence deserves to be credited!

H.R.
Reply to  AGW is Not Science
August 20, 2021 6:14 am

I can’t help you with the quote, AGW, but that and other points brought up in this string of replies is what settled part of The Science® for me about a dozen years ago.

The Science® was bought and paid for to support a political agenda; an agenda which I am opposed to in every way.

I read WUWT because it allows free discussion of the politics of The Science® and it is the best place to go to read about what might really be going on with the climate. Willis E. is a fine example of that. He just goes where the data leads (or examines questionable data) and has proposed some very good hypotheses. There are many others who do that as well, but he ‘s a fine ‘for instance’ to keep things short.

Yup. Anyone with a bit of knowledge of geological history should know that CO2 is not the control knob of climate. That’s just a simplified hobgoblin to herd the masses towards a political goal.

H. D. Hoese
August 18, 2021 10:45 am

“Other benthic animals, such as ostracodes, living in the same environment as the foraminifera did not show the same loss in numbers.” Don’t know much about these, but the little I easily found about their fossils is that they often are not abundant at the same time as forams and sometimes do well in high organic matter. Getting oxygen to depths in the ocean is difficult, Forbes thought impossible, so must be Azoic. Good hypothesis, lacked data. Lots of those around.

Rob_Dawg
August 18, 2021 10:53 am

> Around 65 Ma, the famous Chicxulub bolide impact … cold period was brief, perhaps only ten years, but very cold.

An impact with a ±2m year error bar creates a cold period signal with a resolution of 10 years? I think not.

David Middleton(@debunkhouse)
Editor
Reply to  Andy May
August 18, 2021 12:04 pm

So brief that I think Scotese’s recent Phanerozoic reconstruction is the only one that shows it. It was too short to leave much of a mark in the geologic record.

Joel O'Bryan(@joelobryan)
August 18, 2021 11:27 am

Andy wrote, “But, in AR6, they conclude that it means the feedbacks to surface temperature are changing with surface temperature. Thus the feedbacks have feedbacks (IPCC, 2021, p. 7-78). They do not believe the models can be incorrect, they conclude that we simply need to introduce another factor. This is Karl Popper’s definition of pseudoscience, a hypothesis that cannot be falsified.”

This is very similar to how mathematicians of the Ptolemaic model for centuries continued to try to refine epicycles and deferents to continue to match to incoming measurements from telescopes in the 16th and 17th Centuries.

This is so similar to what climate scientist think they see today in models that seem to them to get a lot of things correct, but they ignore the failures. They want to believe because models get some things right, that the underlying parameterized paradigm of CO2 and water vapor feedback tuning must be correct.

The Ptolemaic model got a lot of things “right” about the movement of the planets. So right that even the original planetarium mechanical projectors used the mathematical mechanics of motion based on Ptelemaic epicircles and deferents (a circle moving inside a circle) to accurately project the movement of the planets against the star background. Planetariums used Ptolemy’s maths in their ceiling projectors for 70 years until they were replaced with computerized, digital projectors using the “correct” paradigm.
But of course we know since Kepler finally figured out in 1609 via elliptical orbital mathematics that the paradigm of the Ptolemaic model is fundamentally wrong, it still took decades for Ptolemaic epicircles-deferents models to die. So too it is with climate models.
The outputs of some of the climate models, some of time, can kinda look right with tunign of some many parameters. This fools the climate modellers and climate scientists to think that if they keep tuning their models, models which place CO2 at the primacy of climate temperatures, they might eventually get it right. As Andy points out, this is Karl Popper’s pseudoscience definition on full display, but with multi-Trillion dollar consequences for humanity with their fundamental errors of the climate paradigm.

This CO2-control knob paradigm, like Ptolemy and Geocentrism, is almost certainly fundamentally wrong, and why the GCM climate models will never get it right, no matter how much they keep tuning their parameters. And we are going to vastly poorer and more desparate humanity if we let these climate pseudoscientists enable bad energy policies for humanity and the environment.

Last edited 5 months ago by joelobryan
John Tillman
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 18, 2021 11:33 am

Even Copernicus and Galileo clung to perfectly circular orbits.

Vuk
Reply to  John Tillman
August 18, 2021 12:38 pm

Johann Kepler is your man.

John Tillman
Reply to  Vuk
August 18, 2021 2:01 pm

With data supplied by Tycho.

It took Kepler way too long to discover Mars’ elliptical orbit.because he assumed that if it were that geometrically simple, someone would already have found out.

And curve fitting exercises are pooh-poohed!

Vuk
Reply to  John Tillman
August 18, 2021 2:34 pm

… then cometh the man who forgot to have a hair cut.

Last edited 5 months ago by Vuk
Gary Pearse
Reply to  John Tillman
August 19, 2021 3:23 pm

Actually Kepler wheeled the the data out of Tyco Brahe’s widow.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Gary Pearse
August 19, 2021 3:27 pm

‘wheedled’

Samsung needs to hire literate English speakers.

John Tillman
Reply to  Gary Pearse
August 20, 2021 11:12 am

“Supplied” wasn’t the right word.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 18, 2021 12:25 pm

The problem of induction means we can never really ‘know’ which answer is right, only ones that are wrong.

We work from events back to causes. That’s induction. And the problem is that there as many – an infinite number – of presumable causes that give the ‘right’ result as ones that give the ‘wrong’ result.

Example. If I say ‘what is 6 times 7?’, the answer is of course 42. That is deductive logic, The answer is implicit in the definition of mathematics.

But if I say ‘what expression, when evaluated, gives the answer 42?’ it is an entirely different game.

It might be 84 divided by two, or one multipled by forty two or minus 6 times minus 7…or an infinite number of other possible expressions that when evaluated, give the answer, forty two.

All we can say is its not seven times five or three times fifteen. They don’t give the right answer.

And that is what lies behind Popper’s view of science, that we cannot say we are uncovering truths in the world: In fact all we are doing is imagining models, that work, to describe the world. If they work, they are scientific, if they don’t. they are not.

Einstein and Newton both work, but Einstein works better, therefore Newton is refuted. Most people think this means that Einstein is true. And Newton is false. The accurate philsophical analysis shows that this is a very flawed way to approach science. Newton’s ideas worked spectacularly well, Einstein’s worked better, but neither are demonstrably true.

The problem of induction means that we cant know what is really ‘causing’ anything. We just go with what fits inb to both give the right answer, and to accord with our current world view. Newton’s ideas fitted a world of flat space and absolute time. To get his ideas to match observed reality, Einstein bent space and introduced relative time.

It was a new metaphysical position, but one that most people do not appreciate. We bow to Einstein for getting the maths right, but no one really thinks in terms of relative time and warped space.

Heck, who knows? the creationists might be right and some extradimensional Power concocted the whole world 6000 years ago complete with an apparent history to fool you into thinking it was much older!

Mutatis mutandis, it would look exactly the same if He had…

Problem of induction.

The only thing we can say about modern climate change is that the models do not predict the right data, not nearly. It is therefore bunk. Adding more ‘circles to the epicycles’ to try and fit it better, gets too complicated.

A more simple solution is to declare that the metaphsyical axiom that ‘all large climate change is caused by greenhouse gasses’ is in fact a load of bollocks, and Stop Worrying and learn to love the pesky molecules

Vuk
Reply to  Leo Smith
August 18, 2021 1:37 pm

Logic made simple. In specific example we know what are correct or wrong answers. However there is one answer we can’t tell if it is correct or wrong i.e. ∞/0 (infinity divided by zero)
(note: ∞ is a kind of number, but 0 is also a vague, ‘fuzzy’ number, it is not positive or negative, it is not odd or even, while some mathematicians say it should be considered even and positive.)

Last edited 5 months ago by Vuk
Vuk
Reply to  Vuk
August 18, 2021 2:03 pm

Case for ‘0 is even’ is simple, 0 is found between two odd numbers, however case for ‘zero is positive’ is a bit more complicated: 42/0 = +∞ , i.e. infinity at the limit (there is no end!) of the positive scale of numbers, which is generally considered to be true. However if ‘0 is negative’ then 42/0 would be – ∞  id est infinitum minus.

Last edited 5 months ago by Vuk
Rud Istvan
Reply to  Vuk
August 18, 2021 3:15 pm

I highly recommend the book ‘History of Zero’. Other favs in the same vein are e, i, pi, 1, and phi (the golden ratio).
Remember Feynman’s awe at learning of Euler’s identity:
e^(i*pi) +1 =0! Tying five of six magic numbers together.

Dudley Horscroft(@dudleyhorscroft)
Reply to  Rud Istvan
August 20, 2021 5:09 am

But remember the beautiful – and correct – mathematical demonstration that 2 + 2 = 5. This is accurate if rounding is allowed and cannot therefore be disputed.

MarkW
Reply to  Leo Smith
August 18, 2021 1:41 pm

For large objects at non-relativistic speeds, the difference between the results achieved using Einstein’s model and the results achieved using Newton’s model cannot be measured even using modern equipment.
So it makes sense to use the simpler equations.

John Tillman
Reply to  Leo Smith
August 18, 2021 2:04 pm

Einstein showed Newton false, in that gravitation works at the speed of light, not instantaneously, as Sir Isaac imagined. Also, Newton considered space and time absolute rather than relative.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  John Tillman
August 18, 2021 3:21 pm

John, you might enjoy the intro to my ebook The Arts of Truth, where the difference between Newton and Einstein gravity is teased apart. In sum, GPS satellite orbits need follow only Newton, but their atomic clock timing signal corrections must obey Einstein—both special and general relativity. Proving truth is both relative and elusive. Hence its Arts.

John Tillman
Reply to  Rud Istvan
August 18, 2021 3:44 pm

Newtonian mechanics are good enough for satellite work, planetary orbits and rocketry, but that doesn’t mean he was right about gravitation.

According to Newton, if the sun disappeared, planets would immediately shoot off on their tangents. Einstein was right that Earth wouldn’t do so for eight minutes and 20 seconds.

Newton had a sneaking suspicion that he might be wrong about the speed of gravitation, but couldn’t test his assumption experimentally.

Last edited 5 months ago by John Tillman
John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
August 18, 2021 4:00 pm

Einstein had the benefit of Faraday, Maxwell and Michelson and Morley’s work. He realized that Maxwell and Newton couldn’t both be right. His heroes remained Newton, Faraday and Maxwell.

Talk about your giant shoulders!

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  John Tillman
August 18, 2021 4:32 pm

Newton was just as troubled by the notion of gravity acting instantaneously at a distance as any modern physicist would be, and wrote commentary to the effect that no rational person could think such a thing possible. He had no explanation for why gravity did what it did, and said so. However, his deduction of the inverse square law of gravitation from Kepler’s’ finding, based on measured data, that the orbits of bodies were elliptical, was simply him coming up with a model that fit reality.

John Tillman
Reply to  Michael S. Kelly
August 18, 2021 5:39 pm

Newton wrote the Principia after telling Halley in 1684 that he had derived the inverse square relationship from Kepler’s laws. He pretended to search around in his papers, then said he had lost his work. So it was really a hunch. He had to invent calculus and spend three years writing his book before making good on his claim.

He did indeed, contrary to his bold assertion, make hypotheses.

Last edited 5 months ago by John Tillman
john harmsworth
Reply to  Michael S. Kelly
August 19, 2021 1:20 pm

Newton never would have made the cut in climate “science” Making models match reality is so Every century up ’til this one.

MarkW
Reply to  John Tillman
August 18, 2021 7:05 pm

On the distances Newton was able to work with, the speed of light is indistinguishable from instantaneous. Especially with the tools available at the time. Ditto for space and time.

John Tillman
Reply to  MarkW
August 18, 2021 7:11 pm

True. But still he was wrong.

Same with his conclusion that Earth was 6000 years old.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  John Tillman
August 19, 2021 3:48 pm

World 6000yrs old: let’s not forget these guys were Christians. King James was on the throne. Although the King and Newton argued a lot. King James wasn’t a good sport about it though, and refused Newton’s appointment to the Chair in math at King’s College. That’s how Newton became a Cambridge man!

John Tillman
Reply to  Gary Pearse
August 20, 2021 11:24 am

James VI and I died 18 years before before Sir Isaac was born. The brief reign of King James II, younger grandson of James I, lasted only from 1685 to 1688.

Newton attended Cambridge as an undergrad. He was a Fellow of Trinity College, elevated (despite being a Puritan) to Lucasian Professor of Math in 1669, during the reign of Charles II. Like their dad Charles I, both boys were traitors, but escaped beheading.

Reply to  Leo Smith
August 18, 2021 8:31 pm

Example. If I say ‘what is 6 times 7?’, the answer is of course 42. That is deductive logic, The answer is implicit in the definition of mathematics.”

Wow. Way wrong. 6 times 9 is 42. Didn’t you read the guide?

john harmsworth
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
August 19, 2021 1:31 pm

42 is the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything. The set “everything” must include the answer to 6 X 7 and 6 X9!

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Leo Smith
August 18, 2021 10:05 pm

but Einstein works better, …

Define “better.” Sometimes calculations are easier and quicker if you can tolerate a loss of accuracy in your application.

ATheoK
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 18, 2021 2:23 pm

But, in AR6, they conclude that it means the feedbacks to surface temperature are changing with surface temperature. Thus the feedbacks have feedbacks (IPCC, 2021, p. 7-78).”

Cha cha Chain, Chain of fools. IPCC is definitely a chain of fools.

So right that even the original planetarium mechanical projectors used the mathematical mechanics of motion based on Ptelemaic epicircles and deferents (a circle moving inside a circle) to accurately project the movement of the planets against the star background.”

I’ve not seen any planetarium use retrograde planetary movement to keep their planets moving correctly.
If they’re using the ‘Ptolemaic model’ there is retrograde motion or the planet will appear to hang without moving for a period of time.

AndyHce
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 18, 2021 9:27 pm

“This is very similar to how mathematicians of the Ptolemaic model for centuries continued to try to refine epicycles and deferents to continue to match …”
Sort of remind one of modern cosmology and dark matter

Last edited 5 months ago by AndyHce
Jim Gorman
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 20, 2021 7:31 am

Don’t forget the Bohr model of the atom. Still useful for some things even today, like basic atom instruction.

Disputin
August 18, 2021 11:42 am

The first occurrence of mangrove palms dates to the PETM.

A very minor point, but mangroves are not palms.

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  Andy May
August 18, 2021 4:46 pm

Implied face palm.
comment image?w=500&ssl=1

Ain’t Nature wonderful?!!

Last edited 5 months ago by Michael S. Kelly
David Middleton(@debunkhouse)
Editor
Reply to  Michael S. Kelly
August 18, 2021 6:32 pm

One of my personal favorite memes… 👍👍

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  David Middleton
August 19, 2021 8:18 am

Mine too – Tommy Lee Jones has the perfect face for that expression!

Couldn’t figure out how to stick it into my posts though. :-I

beng135
Reply to  Andy May
August 20, 2021 8:56 am

That’s cool, I didn’t know there were mangrove palms. Difficult for a terrestrial plant to grow in salt water.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Disputin
August 18, 2021 10:40 pm

… which reinforces the fact that it’s always wise to do a quick search before ‘Disputin’ anything on a message board crawling with a wide range of erudite contributors.

Joao Martins
Reply to  Disputin
August 19, 2021 3:51 am

Go study, you ignorant.

DHR
August 18, 2021 11:46 am

Could not the PETM warming be due to a geologically short-lived increase in solar energy output and if so, would there not be evidence of greater solar wind created or contained nuclides (or evidence of less cosmic flux incident on earth) in the rocks laid down at the time? I suppose that has been looked at before. Perhaps another article Mr. May?

gbaikie
Reply to  DHR
August 18, 2021 2:49 pm

A dino killing space rock will make the Earth ring, and ring for a long time. If a much much bigger rock hit the sun, the rock might make the sun ring.

Andrew Kerber
August 18, 2021 11:47 am

There is nothing new about them claiming an unknown factor is the cause of the warming. That is exactly what they are doing with the so called “attribution science”. We dont know what causes this, so we will say its human influence. There was no human influence so instead we call it an unknown factor, and we can make up whatever we want to about it, Exactly as they do with attribution science.

Smart Rock
August 18, 2021 1:53 pm

The IPCC quotes PETM global average temperatures as ±10°C warmer than today. They carefully omit that they are talking about global average, and thus they tacitly (and quite untruthfully and unethically) imply to the uninformed reader (e.g. media hacks and the politicians who rule our lives) that temperatures everywhere will rise by 10°C, so the tropics and temperate zones will become uninhabitable if that happens in the near future.

Fact is that warmer global average temperatures are mostly the result of cold places becoming less cold. The same warmists use a different riff by reminding us who live there that Canada is warming at two (sometimes even three) times the global average. And even within Canada, most of the warming is happening at high latitudes. I’ve lived on and off at 43.6°N since 1970 and yes, there has been some evidence that annual mean temperatures are a bit higher now than they were then – because the winters aren’t as cold and there isn’t as much snow. But I can’t tell the difference in the summers at all.

And warming in the tropics has been less than impressive, to say the least.

That’s the northern hemisphere. There’s been no detectable warming in Antarctica despite “unprecedented” thermometer readings of 19°C at the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, which is closer to the equator than Reykavik, Iqaluit and Fairbanks (record highs of 30.5, 26.1 and 31.1°C)

So a large global average temperature increase – if the almost-impossible does happen – will mean balmier weather in northern latitudes that are only marginally habitable now. And if the Greenland ice cap does melt – just remember that it took over 11,000 years for the Laurentide ice cap to disappear. Let’s give Greenland 2,000 years, i.e. a time span covering all history from the accession of Julius Caesar to today. Isn’t that long enough to resettle coastal populations organically and painlessly?

John Tillman
Reply to  Smart Rock
August 18, 2021 2:17 pm

The Eemian Interglacial was warmer and lasted close to 4000 years longer than the Holocene so far, yet the GIS’ Southern Dome melted only about 25% more than now, and its Northern Dome lost almost no more mass. So, IMO, it would take longer than 2000 years.

However, the even hoitter and much longer super interglacial of MIS 11 did melt most of it. Some see that interval as a model for the Holocene.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Smart Rock
August 19, 2021 8:21 am

I bet humans can build high enough sea walls in less than 2,000 years. Unless they put the project in the government’s hands and insist on using union labor.

Steve Z
August 18, 2021 2:19 pm

It seems like the latitude lines in Figure 3 are mis-marked. Most of the England/Scotland island is more than 50 degrees north, while the 40th parallel is south of the French Riviera, which does not appear on Figure 3 (not in southern England).

John Tillman
Reply to  Andy May
August 18, 2021 3:38 pm

I’m always impressed by how much land used to lie in the Southern Hemisphere, helping to account for the Ordovician and Carboniferous ice ages.

Rud Istvan
August 18, 2021 2:24 pm

Knew next to nothing about the PETM until this guest post and it’s comments. Thanks all. The old apples to oranges comparison trick, since both are fruits.
Or, (my fav):
Knowledge is knowing tomatoes are botanical fruits. Wisdom is not putting tomatoes into a fruit salad.

AR6 asserting that CAGW future circumstances will resemble the PETM was neither knowledgeable nor wise.

B Clarke
August 18, 2021 2:37 pm

Excellent reading Andy.

Bill Rocks
August 18, 2021 3:38 pm

Andy May,

Thank you for an outstanding review and critique of the PETM and related subjects. A superior piece of work.

RickWill
August 18, 2021 4:36 pm

Atmospheric oxygen concentration during the cretaceous period has been estimated at 35%. Assuming nitrogen the same mass as now means the surface level pressure was around 1100hPa.

That pressure results in the tropical SST reaching 33C on yearly average and peaking at 35C. This causes a massive increase in evaporation rates and the consequential increase in the MOC. Transport of heat from the tropics to poles increases and the whole globe warms up.

At 35% oxygen, plant matter will burn at higher intensity than present. I expect the wildfires of today would be regarded as small fires compared to what would occur with oxygen at 35%.

CO2 enriched atmosphere would increase plant growth.

What I have not seen is how fast the oxygen levels dropped from the peak?

Last edited 5 months ago by RickWill
Javier
August 18, 2021 5:10 pm

The farther we go into the past, the least we know what happened. It is very telling that they have to go back 56 Ma to find a horror story that is mostly invented since we don’t know what happened.

I don’t know if anybody has really taken a good look at past CO2 proxies. For example Beerling and Royer 2011. They are a mess. Different CO2 proxies give completely different answers, they are all over the place, the error bars are huge. There are many millions of years without a single point and then in half a million years there are 20 points giving different answers. The spline is a joke. When they say that Co2 levels in a certain period were supposed to be X, in reality we don’t know the CO2 levels at that time. The uncertainty is such that we cannot rule out that they were 3 times higher or 3 times lower.

The whole thing about past CO2 levels is a giant scientific joke. Everybody is pretending the data is there. But the data we’ve got is not up to the task of telling us what they were. We can only know with reasonable uncertainty for the past million years, that is the age of old Antarctic ice cores.

We don’t know yet why the planet goes through hothouse or icehouse periods. We know Geography plays a huge role in making the planet wamer or cooler, but there appears to be a periodicity of about 150 million years, so 150 million years ago the planet was in a cool period, and 300 million years ago in another ice age and 450 million of years ago in another one. While 75 million years ago there was a hot period, and 225 years ago another one. Is it a tectonic rithm? a galactic rithm? something else? Nobody knows.

What we do know is that 50 Ma the Early Eocene was also a very warm period (Climatic Optimum). The poles had an average temperature above freezing. The average temperature was 23.8ºC. CO2 is believed to have been between 600-1000 ppm. Models cannot reproduce it. They need 4800 ppm and produce tropical average temperatures of 35ºC that are likely unrealistic as at 27ºC the ocean triggers deep convection and the deep open ocean does not go above 30ºC. It is called the “equable climate problem.” The climate was equable because it had a much shallower meridional temperature gradient, and very reduced seasonality. Models run into the “low gradient paradox.” With a reduced gradient you get to transport less heat to the poles, and you need loads and loads of CO2 to keep the poles above freezing in winter.

David Middleton(@debunkhouse)
Editor
Reply to  Andy May
August 18, 2021 6:30 pm

Javier would have been a damn good geologist… 😎⚒️⛏️

John Tillman
Reply to  Javier
August 18, 2021 7:15 pm
Last edited 5 months ago by John Tillman
Pasi Autio
Reply to  Javier
August 19, 2021 4:34 am

From PETM to present add separation of Antarctic peninsula from South America, the formation of Drake’s passage, the birth of Antarctic Circumpolar Current and all associated cooling from those events and no further explanation of temperature difference between PETM and present is needed.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Javier
August 19, 2021 8:46 am

The whole thing about past CO2 levels is a giant scientific joke. Everybody is pretending the data is there. But the data we’ve got is not up to the task of telling us what they were. We can only know with reasonable uncertainty for the past million years, that is the age of old Antarctic ice cores.

The ice cores are a joke too. The CO2 levels derived from them assume (once again, a key, and incorrect, assumption) that air bubbles trapped in ice are a “closed system,” when they are nothing of the kind.

What we can say is that during the period beginning in 1958 when we have both CO2 and temperature instrument measurements, that CO2 has been steadily rising while temperatures have fallen, risen, and been essentially flat. So CO2 is certainly not the driver of temperature.

Ben Wouters
Reply to  Javier
August 22, 2021 11:09 am

but there appears to be a periodicity of about 150 million years, so 150 million years ago the planet was in a cool period, and 300 million years ago in another ice age and 450 million of years ago in another one.

Any ideas on the periodicity of mantle plumes, especially the big ones like the one creating the Ontong-Java plateau? Perhaps the warming of the next plume takes ~150 my. Compare this to pulsating thermals, where a thermal will leave the ground every few minutes, after becoming warm enough (lower density) to start rising.

Last edited 5 months ago by Ben Wouters
David Middleton(@debunkhouse)
Editor
August 18, 2021 6:17 pm

Who the hell is downgrading this post? The rating, with 12 votes, is only 4.4 out of 5… Who could possibly be stupid enough to rate Andy’s post lower than 5?

John Tillman
Reply to  David Middleton
August 18, 2021 7:14 pm

Acolytes of the Church of Magical Gas.

beng135
Reply to  David Middleton
August 20, 2021 8:16 am

Bots, apparatchiks and fact-haters.

Chris Hanley
August 18, 2021 6:42 pm

The atmosphere is already about halfway to doubling the CO2 concentration of the pre-industrial level and that has been concurrent with a ~+1C (or less).
How on Earth do they figure another +11C in the next sixty or so years of business as usual?

August 18, 2021 8:18 pm

Today we have tens of thousands of daily temperature measurements around the world and can calculate a fairly accurate global average surface temperature.”

And physically meaningless.

Clyde Spencer
August 18, 2021 9:23 pm

Beerling and Royer claim the highest CO2 level occurred 52 Ma, over four million years after the PETM …

Yet another data point that suggests that temperature drives CO2, not the other way around.

Loydo
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
August 19, 2021 5:03 am

Temperature drives CO2 and CO2 drives temperature.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Loydo
August 19, 2021 8:48 am

There IS evidence of the former; there is no evidence of the latter, THAT is just “hypothetical bullshit.”

Loydo
Reply to  Loydo
August 19, 2021 12:57 pm

Which is it Andy? David? Javier? Anyone?

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Loydo
August 19, 2021 3:02 pm

and CO2 drives temperature.

Show us the evidence supporting that assumption.I guess if a lie is repeated enough it becomes truth to an idiot.

Last edited 5 months ago by Rory Forbes
Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Loydo
August 19, 2021 6:29 pm

I’m comfortable with saying that even if both effects contribute to a feedback loop, there is not a 1:1 correspondence. That is, I suspect that the temperature drives CO2 more strongly than CO2 drives temperature.

If that were not the case, then there would have been run-away temperatures in the distant past, from which Earth would not have recovered. Or, in the current climastrology vernacular, a ‘tipping point.’

Temperature variations behave as an exogenous input and temperature is only loosely coupled to CO2 as a forcing. That would explain why Earth hasn’t turned into another Venus.

Loydo
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
August 19, 2021 7:36 pm

temperature drives CO2, not the other way around”
“CO2 drives temperature.”

Thats a bit like a tipping point.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Loydo
August 19, 2021 8:46 pm

Thats a bit like a tipping point.

Not if the CO2 forcing is negligible compared to the strong exogenous temperature forcing. That is, temperature variation can override the CO2 forcing easily.

beng135
Reply to  Loydo
August 20, 2021 8:14 am

Oh sure — you’re such a reliable source.

/sarc

Rory Forbes
August 18, 2021 10:45 pm

Has anyone noticed the dearth of our usual cohort of AGW trolls in this thread? Seems like there’s much more real science in evidence than they’re likely to follow.

nyolci
Reply to  Rory Forbes
August 19, 2021 1:29 pm

An AGW troll is proudly present here! No, there’s no real science, this is the usual bullshiting from Andy.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  nyolci
August 19, 2021 6:31 pm

How about some specific instances instead of just wagging your finger?

Pasi Autio
August 19, 2021 4:27 am

During PETM the continental configuration way totally incompatible compared to present times.

The most critical difference was Antarctica: Antarctic peninsula was still attached to South America, Drake’s passage did not exist and Antarctic Circumpolar Current did not exist. Warm ocean currents were present at Antarctica’s shores keeping Antarctica well suited for forests and other life not present today.
When Antarctica gradually detached from South America and Drake’s Passage was formed, the Antarctic Circumpolar current was formed, which effectively isolated Antarctica from any warm ocean currents. The same happened to atmosphere – warm winds no longer reached Antarctica.

Antarctica started the rapid glaciation and vast southern oceans began cooling. Also deep ocean cooled considerably and present-day deep ocean currents were formed.

There was a significant increase of temperature difference between south pole and tropics, which itself explains most of the temperature decrease from PETM to present. Minor part of the cooling might also be caused by ocean cooling and the reduction of CO2-content from the atmosphere due to cooler oceans (Henry’s law).

Trying to model all this without carefully considering the continental configuration changes will lead erroneous conclusions and way too big assumptions for 2xCO2 warming effect.

tty
August 19, 2021 9:19 am

It wasn’t only mammals that proliferated during the PETM. Birds did too. Paleocene avifaunas are relatively poor with mostly fairly large species, while Early Eocene ones are much richer with a lot of small birds, including the first songbirds (passerines).

Another interesting fact is that there was a long-term almost linear slow temperature rise through most of the Paleocene and the Early Eocene. This was interrupted by several sharp “blips” where temperatures go up very fast and then down slightly slower. PETM is the largest of these “blips”. And each time after the blip the long-term rise continued at the same rate and from the same level as before the blip. This virtually proves that the long-term rise and the blips were caused by different mechanisms.

Incidentally this long-term rise topped off at a slightly higher temperature than the PETM.

tty
August 19, 2021 9:37 am

 It is interesting to list all the various mechanisms that have been suggested to have caused the CIE (Carbon Isotope Excursion)

1. Dissoluthion of methane clathrates
2. Volcanism in the North Atlantic
3. Contact metamorphosis of organics through volcanism
4. Eruption of a large kimberlite field
5. Oxidation of organic sediments in an shallow seaway uplifted on land
6. Large-scale Peat fires
7. Cometary impact
8. Ocean overturming
9. Melting of permafrost in East Antarctica

The list is probably incomplete. Unfortunately none of the theories is really satisfactory.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  tty
August 19, 2021 6:36 pm

9. Melting of permafrost in East Antarctica

10. All of the above.

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