Here’s an artist’s idea of what the intense volcanic activity in ancient Siberia might have looked like. Many scientists suggest that effects of this volcanism, which lasted some 60,000 years, may have triggered the extinction of most living species. Image: JOSÉ-LUIS OLIVARES/MIT

Claim: Global Warming Tipping Points Caused the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to a study, The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, an extreme spike of global warming which occurred 55 million years ago, was not just caused by volcanism and geological upheaval.

‘Tipping points’ in Earth’s system triggered rapid climate change 55 million years ago, research shows

by  University of Exeter

Scientists have uncovered a fascinating new insight into what caused one of the most rapid and dramatic instances of climate change in the history of the Earth.

A team of researchers, led by Dr. Sev Kender from the University of Exeter, have made a pivotal breakthrough in the cause behind the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) – an extreme global warming event that lasted for around 150 thousand years which saw significant temperature rises. 

Although previous studies have suggested volcanic activity contributed to the vast CO2emissions that drove the rapid climate change, the trigger for event is less clear.

In the new study, the researchers have identified elevated levels of mercury just before and at the outset of the PETM—which could be caused by expansive volcanic activity—in samples taken from sedimentary cores in the North Sea. 

Crucially, the research of the rock samples also showed that in the early stages of the PETM, there was a significant drop in mercury levels—suggested at least one other carbon reservoir released significant greenhouse gasses as the phenomenon took hold. 

The research indicates the existence of tipping points in the Earth’s System—which could trigger the release of additional carbon reservoirs that drove the Earth’s climate to unprecedented high temperatures.

Read more:

The abstract of the study;

Paleocene/Eocene carbon feedbacks triggered by volcanic activity

Sev KenderKara BogusGunver K. PedersenKaren DybkjærTamsin A. MatherErica MarianiAndy RidgwellJames B. RidingThomas WagnerStephen P. Hesselbo & Melanie J. Leng 


The Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) was a period of geologically-rapid carbon release and global warming ~56 million years ago. Although modelling, outcrop and proxy records suggest volcanic carbon release occurred, it has not yet been possible to identify the PETM trigger, or if multiple reservoirs of carbon were involved. Here we report elevated levels of mercury relative to organic carbon—a proxy for volcanism—directly preceding and within the early PETM from two North Sea sedimentary cores, signifying pulsed volcanism from the North Atlantic Igneous Province likely provided the trigger and subsequently sustained elevated CO2. However, the PETM onset coincides with a mercury low, suggesting at least one other carbon reservoir released significant greenhouse gases in response to initial warming. Our results support the existence of ‘tipping points’ in the Earth system, which can trigger release of additional carbon reservoirs and drive Earth’s climate into a hotter state.

Read more:

To be fair, unlike some studies, the authors of this study warn upfront in the main body of their paper that it is difficult to draw inferences from events which occurred during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum which are relevant to modern times.

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John Tillman
September 1, 2021 4:41 pm

Oceanic circulation the opposite of now, with equatorial latitudes open to globe-circling currents, while high southern latitudes were interrupted by land.

Also no ice sheets anywhere on the planet.

Even more so at the PETM than in this mid-Eocene map:

Last edited 27 days ago by John Tillman
John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
September 1, 2021 5:01 pm

Also, the Arctic Ocean even more enclosed than now.

Rud Istvan
September 1, 2021 5:13 pm

Ah tipping points. None of which hypothesized exist.
Here, non-anthropogenic volcanism.
There, Eemian sudden Antarctic ice sheet collapse, only by academic misconduct concerning past Australian documented earthquakes (essay By Sea or by Land) in ebook Blowing Smoke.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
September 1, 2021 7:46 pm

Hansen postulated tipping points (along with his bogus feedback analysis) as a way to put the “Catastrophic” in CAGW.

In the last million years or so we have been banging into and out of glaciations. The temperature plot looks like a noisy pulse train*. I’m willing to believe that some kind of tipping point may be involved otherwise you’d expect the transitions to be less abrupt.

In any event, I have yet to see a completely satisfactory explanation of the process.

*It seems to matter which temperature proxy folks use. The one shown here looks like a noisy sawtooth wave.

Last edited 26 days ago by commieBob
Reply to  commieBob
September 2, 2021 7:41 am

“Hansen postulated tipping points.”
That’s the way to do influential science in the absence of supporting data.

Last edited 26 days ago by Curious George
john harmsworth
Reply to  commieBob
September 3, 2021 7:57 am

I believe once you have ice sheets forming at high latitude the globe is in a fairly tenuous balance between the reduction of ice sheets by heat transported by air and ocean currents allowing more solar heating and the growth of the ice sheets causing higher albedo and further growth. I wouldn’t mind calling that a tipping point, so long as we don’t confuse it with “catastrophic” warming. It could however, be the start of catastrophic cooling. I think we have been close to glaciation conditions for the last 2.5 million years, with orbital considerations the main and usual determinant, but also with potential for other variables to cause something lesser, like a Younger Dryas type event.

Reply to  commieBob
September 3, 2021 10:55 am

They keep playing the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum “Card” as a scaremongering tool, even tho that’s way too long ago to determine the real cause.

Pamela Matlack-Klein
Reply to  Rud Istvan
September 2, 2021 3:03 am

Back in the early ’80s tipping points and feedback mechanisms were getting a lot of attention. IMO, a tempest in a teapot, to date haven’t seen any verification of same. There was also a lot of talk about surging in the Antarctic that would cause ice shelves to break off and float north into warmer waters where they would melt and cause rapid SLR. That doesn’t seem to have happened either….

Last edited 26 days ago by Pamela Matlack-Klein
Reply to  Rud Istvan
September 2, 2021 5:54 am

Detailed ice core measurements clearly show temp changes 400-1000 years BEFORE CO2 – whether going up or down

“Tipping point” fantasies are pure bunk

CO2 has no effect on temperature – period.

Shoki Kaneda
September 1, 2021 5:14 pm

What caused it to tip back? What causes episodic glaciation and warming intervals? They don’t know, can’t offer coherent explanations, so wave their arms and spout nonsense about fifty-five millions years ago. Why not explain the Pleistocene? Which, in my view, never ended.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Shoki Kaneda
September 1, 2021 5:41 pm

One must have really rarefied thinking to believe the Holocene is an Epoch. Why is not the Eemian interglacial an Epoch? When did CliSciFi overtake geology? Any geologists out there? IIRC, the vote was anything but overwhelming.

Last edited 27 days ago by Dave Fair
Ron Long
Reply to  Dave Fair
September 1, 2021 5:53 pm

My view is that the Holocene is not an epoch, since inter-and-intra glacial cycles continue unchanged. However, the fact I can write this on a computer and send it around the world shows how important we humans are and that’s special.

John Tillman
Reply to  Ron Long
September 1, 2021 6:08 pm

Hence, the Holocene is just a garden variety interglacial with more human effect than the previous 20 or so. In effect, a kind of Anthropocene.

Dave Fair
Reply to  John Tillman
September 1, 2021 7:02 pm

No, it is human detritus, not geologically significant change.

Reply to  Ron Long
September 1, 2021 6:21 pm

Yes we are fortunate to have the climate we have and not the more predominant glacial cold. Is CO2 a booster that will keep the cold away or is a new glacial cycle inevitable?

Reply to  Scissor
September 1, 2021 11:59 pm

Renewed glaciation inevitable.

john harmsworth
Reply to  Scissor
September 3, 2021 8:00 am

We are UN-fortunate it is not warmer than it is now. This is actually tough times in the poor old Northern Hemisphere.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Ron Long
September 1, 2021 7:01 pm

Not geologically special, though. Scattering human junk around is not a geological process.

Reply to  Dave Fair
September 1, 2021 9:22 pm

True but turning CO2 into limestone is and the geological process it doing the on steroids. Thank god somebody doing something to counteract that.

Dave Fair
Reply to  MAL
September 1, 2021 11:17 pm

Uh, data? Is limestone creation accelerating? Is Biden reducing the creation of limestone?

Thank God the Taliban are committed to “climate action.” Of course, like all the other ‘shithole’ countries, that means money from us.

Can’t wait for COP26. No tickie, no washie.

Julian Flood
Reply to  Dave Fair
September 2, 2021 12:16 am

In the UK we are entering the maskocene.


Reply to  Ron Long
September 1, 2021 7:56 pm

For whatever reason some folks think the Holocene is an epoch and the Eemian is not. WUWT?

Reply to  Ron Long
September 1, 2021 9:24 pm

“important” to completely relative.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Ron Long
September 1, 2021 10:49 pm

Only to us. As George Carlin would say, the Earth will shake us off like a bad case of the fleas.

Smart Rock
Reply to  Dave Fair
September 2, 2021 8:20 am

It’s been called the Holocene since long before climate science was even invented. And before that, it was called “Recent”

In 1833 Charles Lyell proposed the designation Recent for the period that has elapsed since “the earth has been tenanted by man.” It is now known that humans have been in existence a great deal longer. The term Holocene was proposed in 1867 and was formally submitted to the International Geological Congress at Bologna, Italy, in 1885


You’re presumably confusing Holocene with the unofficial term Anthropocene, which is not a recognised geological epoch, age or stage. According to the International Commission on Stratigraphy “The Anthropocene is not currently a formally defined geological unit within the Geological Time Scale” although they have an “Anthropocene Working Group” of true believers, which is striving mightily to achieve that goal.

Joao Martins
Reply to  Shoki Kaneda
September 2, 2021 3:47 am

What caused? Some singer said it decades ago:

“What goes up must come down
Spinning wheel got to go round

This world goes round and round.
Green leaves will turn to brown”

I wonder when greens will turn to brown (and fall down as rotten fruits do).

Peter W
September 1, 2021 5:26 pm

The whole business sounds very easy to ignore.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Peter W
September 1, 2021 5:34 pm

It would be easy to ignore, but they are using my tax dollars to mentally masturbate. And their mental ejaculate is ruining my natural freedoms and the West’s economy. CliSciFi. ‘Nuff said.

Joao Martins
Reply to  Dave Fair
September 2, 2021 3:49 am

I second your words, Dave!

September 1, 2021 5:35 pm

Tipping points are the mothers milk of climate alarmism. Rubbish…

DD More
Reply to  Tom
September 2, 2021 10:53 am

Them –PETM 55mya, there was a significant drop in mercury levels—suggested at least one other carbon reservoir released significant greenhouse gasses as the phenomenon took hold. 

How many candles should be on the Mt. Denali/McKinley birthday cake this year?

Over tens of millions of years, Mt. McKinley has been uplifted by tectonic pressure (collision of the pacific plate with the North American plate) while at the same time, erosion has stripped away the mostly sedimentary material above and around it. (Portions of slightly older sea floor rock (flysch) are found near the 20,320′ true, or south summit, and they completely cap the 19,470′ north summit of Mt. McKinley.) The crystallization age of the Mt. McKinley granites is around 56 million years ago, giving it plenty of time to be uplifted and eroded to it’s present lofty condition.

How many KM^3 of lava in the Alaska Range?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  DD More
September 2, 2021 8:13 pm

I love how they just naturally assume CO2 did it. With no evidence whatsoever that this is the actual case.

This is what passes for climate science today: Unsubstantiated Assumptions all the way down. Their house is built on a foundation of sand. One of these days, their house is going to fall down.

September 1, 2021 5:40 pm

Tipping points again…. They are obsessed with ‘tipping’ points, aren’t they?

There is still volcanic activity in Russia/Siberia and not just along the eastern coast of that area. The idea that something “tips” or upsets an imaginary “balance” on the planet either means that these proposers don’t really know just how big this planet is, compared to them, or they’re scrabbling for something they think they can pin down.

I found a very nice video online of just how active old volcanoes are in Russia/Siberia.
For example: Kurile Lake caldera is one of the most impressive volcanic features in Kamchatka. It lies within the eastern part of the massive Pauzhetka caldera, but is considered as a separate volcanic system here. The low-rimmed Kurile Lake caldera was formed in two stages during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene.

Kurile Lake SITS in the caldera which is a kilometer long. Around it, in the video that I watched, there are vents producing steam on a recurring rhythmic basis. It is ONLY dormant, and yes, it could blow its stack if it wants to, like any other volcano in Kamchatka.

If volcanoes are such triggers, then why isn’t Iceland warming up while Geldingafalir is blowing steam and spouting lava???? It isn’t just the lava production, it is also venting gases and steam (yes, I know – that’s a gas, too), and not making the air one bit warmer up there. And everyone taking the trek to visit the volcano is bundled up for cold weather.


I do wish these people could just once stop using nonsensical vocabulary like “tipping points”, because those don’t explain why, with so many currently ACTIVE volcanoes (including Etna), we haven’t gone back into something like “THE ATTACK OF THE SUDDEN CLIMATE SHIFT”.

The more they pound that drum, the more convinced I am that they are desk jockeys and luncheon speakers and don’t leave the lab unless they are forced to.

Rant over. Thanks for listening. 🙂

Geezo Pete, now I have to wait for my ice cream to melt….

Last edited 27 days ago by Sara
Reply to  Sara
September 1, 2021 6:39 pm

Dadburnit, I did not proofread! “eastern coast” SHOULD BE “western coast”.

My bad. Sorry!!!!

David Long
Reply to  Sara
September 1, 2021 11:22 pm

They need their tipping points because that’s the only way they can turn tiny, benign bits of warming into a catastrophe requiring the adoption of the rest of their agenda. Anyway I’m sure they exist because they keep saying so over and over.

Richard Page
Reply to  Sara
September 2, 2021 1:58 am

It was a very good rant though. To my mind these authors based their paper on far too many assumptions that cannot be supported except by climate alarmism. That it’s all done by a greenhouse effect, tipping points, sudden changes and trace gases having an enormous effect way beyond their capabilities. They are simply reimagining geological history through the climate alarmism lens.

Reply to  Richard Page
September 2, 2021 6:57 am

Thank you! I’m not sure what it takes to convince them, but they don’t seem to have a grasp of seasonal changes (short term) versus long-term and very slow changes which have nothing to do with seasons.
Even Mars has seasons and shows seasonal changes, and Titan (Saturnian moon) also has seasonal changes. When NASA sent a probe to Titan, they found that Titan has both a summer season, in which the ammonia lakes melted, and winter season, when the ammonia froze.
Now think how cold it has to be to freeze ammonia into ice. Yeah, me, too — freaking cold!!!!
NASA published photos of the Titan seasonal changes in Science News, and I have no idea what I did with that pile of issues, but it was very good stuff.

Richard Page
Reply to  Sara
September 2, 2021 9:38 am

Yeah – there’s almost a fractal pattern in there somewhere. The daily cycle from warm to cold and back, the annual cycle of seasons, the AMO cycle and the glacial/interglacial cycle. That cyclical pattern just seems to repeat itself on longer timescales. Mars has daily, seasonal and glacial/interglacial cycles as well and I don’t believe in coincidences.

Reply to  Richard Page
September 2, 2021 7:26 pm


Pamela Matlack-Klein
Reply to  Sara
September 2, 2021 5:39 am

Maybe some of these clowns were traumatized on a seesaw when their friend stepped off and let them plummet to the ground? That could be a memorable event in anyone’s life and scar for life, resulting in an unreasonable terror of tipping….

Reply to  Pamela Matlack-Klein
September 2, 2021 7:27 pm

Now, that’s funny!!! Pray continue!

September 1, 2021 5:56 pm

This is not the first paper that has tried to invert the causation sequence of the PETM. This obsession with the petm, where the overwhelming position of the literature is that atmospheric co2 rose after ocean acidification and ocean warming but where uncertainties in the paleo data provide opportunities to fiddle, is one of the clearest examples of the atmosphere bias in climate science.

Please see

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Chaamjamal
September 1, 2021 10:05 pm

… atmospheric co2 rose after ocean acidification

How low below 7.0 did the pH get?

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
September 2, 2021 1:50 am

It remained above 7.0.

There was a very sharp, pronounced shoaling of the lysocline during the PETM. This was an actual episode of “ocean acidification”, as the phrase is commonly used. There are some descriptive phrases that have become commonly used, despite technical inaccuracy.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  David Middleton
September 2, 2021 7:07 am

Wiki’ says that the lysocline is pressure/depth dependent. So, how does it relate to pH?

September 1, 2021 6:05 pm

The biggest idiocy we face with historic temperatures is that these young (and old) under-educated morons forget that the Earth had a thicker and deeper atmosphere – thus more gravity – in the past. Their scientific incompetence is astounding.

Reply to  Prjindigo
September 1, 2021 6:22 pm

The Sun was also younger (well, somewhat younger) and not quite the placid ball o’ fire we have today. That may have some bearing on it. They forget that part, too.

Reply to  Prjindigo
September 1, 2021 6:56 pm

Gravity was higher in the past? Really? How exactly did the Earth lose the weight needed for the gravity to decrease?

PS: Venus’s atmosphere is 100’s of times thicker than the Earth’s yet their gravity is less than the Earth’s.

Reply to  Prjindigo
September 1, 2021 7:37 pm

The atmosphere was probably thicker in the past, at least in the time of the dinosaurs, judging from the huge insects they had back then. BUT that had nothing to do with gravity! Earth’s mass was the same back then. It’s postulated that oxygen was running at about 30% or more at the time, until the asteroid came and set North America on fire.

Last edited 26 days ago by PCman99
Reply to  PCman99
September 2, 2021 12:05 am

5 bar, IMHO.

Reply to  PCman99
September 2, 2021 7:03 am

PC, rhe gIant bugs you’re referring to were members of the Carboniferous period, A VERY LONG TIME before the dinosaurs. They were HUGE critters because of the excessively high oxygen content in the atmosphere. Dragonflies can, in one generation now, increase in size if they are in a high oxygen-content environment as shown in lab experiments.
The dinosaurs were much later and the atmospheric O2 content was lower than the Carboniferous period.
And what you posted doesn’t make any sense. What asteroid and when was North America set on fire? Provide some backup for that, unless you were being facetious.

Last edited 26 days ago by Sara
Chris G
Reply to  PCman99
September 3, 2021 1:07 am

I have tried calculating the pressure at the time of giant pterosaurs. Levenspiel’s paper predicts very high pressures but he doesn’t allow for increased oxygen increasing the power available. Altering the equations to allow for this gives circa 1.2-2.0 bar as the minimum required for a 90-100Kg creature to fly.

However pressure is related to temperature and just 1.25 bar increases temperature by 10C. That leaves no room for a higher GH effect even at >1000ppm CO2

Of course that depends on the effective radiating level increasing with pressure and also that Bond’s Albedo stayed about the same. Massively increased cloud cover might increase the BA, it would need to be 0.41 which would require almost total cloud cover.

September 1, 2021 6:14 pm

You’re being too fair – just because they disclaim any modern relevancy in the beginning of their work, the harping about climate tipping points in the climate system is obvious pandering to the Climate Emergency Cult of Room.

To be fair, they might have mentioned “tipping points” in the hope that a few extra search clicks are generated, and that a few extra citations result, ensuring their tenure.

Reply to  PCman99
September 1, 2021 6:23 pm

The Cult of Room? I think there’s a bar by that name in downtown Chicago – something like that, anyway. If there isn’t, there should be one.

Reply to  Sara
September 1, 2021 6:41 pm

P.S. I love “cult of room”!!! It speaks to me…. 🙂

Reply to  PCman99
September 1, 2021 8:00 pm

Ha ha ha, sorry typo, should be Cult of Doom.

You know what, maybe the slip up was Freudian. Climate Cultists act like Nazis and Hilter ran a cult dedicated to Lebensraum. Cultists also not quite so secretly wishing for the world’s population to be reduced to under a billion.

Richard Page
Reply to  PCman999
September 2, 2021 2:01 am

Well I knew there was a typo in there somewhere, just wasn’t sure if it was in Room or Cult!

Thomas Gasloli
September 1, 2021 6:15 pm

Another work of scifi published by Nature.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Thomas Gasloli
September 1, 2021 11:42 pm


H. D. Hoese
September 1, 2021 6:50 pm

“….the authors of this study warn upfront in the main body of their paper…” It is open access, but not in the abstract which says–“Our results support the existence of ‘tipping points…”

From the text, admittedly cherry picked—-“While other pulses of Hg/TOC at E−8X do not correlate with such a large decrease in δ13C….Although the Eocene is not directly analogous to Earth’s current markedly cooler climate state, our records are consistent with a tipping point whereby an additional warming-driven carbon release pushed the world into the PETM ‘Hothouse Earth’…..We acknowledge that numerous uncertainties remain in the construction of our age model, and modelling is now needed to assess the likely source of secondary carbon release and estimate the amount of warming and volume of greenhouse gasses emitted…….values are still well above analytical uncertainty…..Although the Eocene is not directly analogous to Earth’s current markedly cooler climate state, our records are consistent with a tipping point whereby an additional warming-driven carbon release pushed the world into the PETM ‘Hothouse Earth’. Comparable processes have been predicted for the future if significant mitigations are not carried out.”

This had data, but more “modeling” needed. Data such as in Fig. 4 has long interested me, lots of scatter, but aggregation into two dividing ovals. Happened to just see one today like this on the size of the not so ‘dead’ Gulf that I had crudely drawn. Sad thing to me is that volcanic science aside, this sort of language distracts from any value in the paper. All these science communicators need to evaluate how science ‘language’ has changed in various fields. Maybe some are? There seems to be a similar pattern in many different disciplines that needs outlined, examined and corrected.

Dave Fair
Reply to  H. D. Hoese
September 1, 2021 11:44 pm


Reply to  H. D. Hoese
September 2, 2021 2:08 am

This is bizarre…

Although the Eocene is not directly analogous to Earth’s current markedly cooler climate state, our records are consistent with a tipping point whereby an additional warming-driven carbon release pushed the world into the PETM ‘Hothouse Earth’…

PETM was a very brief, very sharp warming spike during a Hothouse Earth’ episode. The Early Eocene Climatic Optimum (EECO) was just as warm as the PETM.

Richard Page
Reply to  David Middleton
September 2, 2021 5:17 am

I really can’t buy into the whole ‘tipping point’ malarkey – it’s the worst kind of lazy obfuscation; “we know something happened, we don’t know how, why or what mechanism was involved so, instead of thoroughly researching it, we’ll call it a tipping point and no-one will question it.” A tipping point operates on a system in perfect equilibrium and, when it occurs, completely destroys the system – we have never had such a thing happen in this planet’s history and I hope we never will.

Now, you were saying that a so far unknown mechanism caused the ‘hothouse Earth’ to develop over a short period of time with a slow decline in temperatures leading to the Cenozoic Ice Age? Would you say that this pattern was reminiscent of the Holocene interglacial pattern; a recovery from the glacial period leading into a climactic optimum then a decline in temperature to the next glacial period? If it’s a repeating pattern then that might be significant.

Last edited 26 days ago by Richard Page
Reply to  H. D. Hoese
September 2, 2021 4:35 am

A while back, when some group (might have been USGS) was taking oceanic temperature readings, a “warmer than normal” spot was discovered in the general area of the Juan de Fuca plate boundary. It was termed “abnormal”{. A little physical investigation (camera, instruments, etc.) revealed that there was a fissure there which was exuding gases and it was right on that plate boundary.

There was no panic attack about it, but a lot more investigation into it. Unfortunately, I lost track of it after a while, but it was a stark surprise to the geology people, something they did not expect to find.

The point is that, despite Earth being “middle-aged” (as if that matters), it’s still very active and we have no control over any of it, so when I come across these papers written with a teeny bopper’s approach, I find it hard to take the people who create them seriously. If they are so smart that they can pin down when something switched gears (it really didn’t), how come they missed the birth of Iceland’s newest volcano and how come they aren’t there analyzing gas volume and lava viscosity?

I’m more impressed by the Icelanders, whose island sits right on the mid-Atlantic rift, than I am by these desk jockeys who think “modeling” is the answer to everything. Fiddlesticks!

Hekla is still active, too, as is Eyafjallajokull (not quite as burpy as she was in the beginning).

September 1, 2021 7:40 pm

–Here’s an artist’s idea of what the intense volcanic activity in ancient Siberia might have looked like. Many scientists suggest that effects of this volcanism, which lasted some 60,000 years, may have triggered the extinction of most living species. Image: JOSÉ-LUIS OLIVARES/MIT —

Kind of hard drawing picture of volcanic activity on ocean floor.
But currently 8 to 9 times more volcanic activity occurs on ocean floor.
And it seems reasonable that similar occurrence happens on ocean floor.

And it seems to me, volcanic activity on Ocean floor as larger effect upon climate than volcanic activity on land.
There has been much larger volcanic activity in the Ocean and larger events. But I mean if there was equal level volcanic activity in the ocean as on land, the one in ocean has larger effect on climate as compared to same level volcanic activity on land.

Julian Flood
September 1, 2021 7:50 pm

‘relevant to present times’

If normal geological process broke open a major oil reservoir, what would be the result?

Over a few centuries the leak would pollute the world ocean, suppressing wave action, preventing the production of cloud condensation nuclei and thus reducing low level cloud cover. The normal thermostat of cunim production would be disrupted as evaporation rates fell. The process would probably have an upper limit where the sheer accumulation ov energy overcame the oil sheen straitjacket but it would be several degrees warmer.

Relevant to present times? We are replicating the event. Search for SeaWifs oil spill data.

(When all you’ve got is a hammer everything looks like a nail.)

Walter Sobchak
September 1, 2021 7:59 pm

So CO2 triggers volcanoes? That is a very interesting theory.


Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
September 1, 2021 10:08 pm

Haven’t you seen what happens when you drop a Mentos in a liter bottle of soda?

Clyde Spencer
September 1, 2021 9:58 pm

Thanks to a graphic provided by David Middleton in another post, stomata suggest generally low pCO2 in the atmosphere during the Paleocene-Eocene, and pCO2 from forams, during the same time, high but pretty much all over the map with wide swings. I don’t think that much can be derived confidently to support claims of the NAIP event(s) being responsible for the PETM.

Only two cores isn’t strong evidence. What if they were near some Black Smokers that were active at the time?

Last edited 26 days ago by Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
September 2, 2021 5:18 am

The main thing that was going on during PETM was the flood basalt eruptions associated with the formation of the North Atlantic Igneous Province (NAIP). The odds are PETM and NAIP are connected… But the exact mechanism will probably always be unknown.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  David Middleton
September 2, 2021 7:39 am

OK, Eocene basaltic eruptive activity in NAIP causes warming. Widespread basaltic, quartz latite, and andesitic volcanism in Oligocene causes cooling. What’s going on?

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
September 2, 2021 9:04 am

The thing is, every time they try to “do the math”… They can’t come up with enough CO2 from the eruptions to account for the warming.

The problem is the assumption that CO2 (and not something else) drove the PETM, EECO, MECO, MMCO, etc.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  David Middleton
September 2, 2021 6:26 pm

I’ll buy that!

September 1, 2021 11:12 pm

They don’t know, or recognize, or understand the definition of “tipping point”. A tipping point allows no return, as falling off a cliff.

Reply to  JimW
September 2, 2021 12:06 am

But it scares the punters.

Alan the Brit
Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
September 2, 2021 9:58 am

That’s the whole point!!!

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  JimW
September 5, 2021 11:22 am

Tipping Point: The most over-used and misapplied term of the 21st century.

Peta of Newark
September 2, 2021 1:01 am

Quote:”by  University of Exeter

That’s all you need to know.

I’ve ‘met’ those peeps at several Massive Open Online Courses and they have One Track Minds.
They are perfectly obsessed with CO2 and trapped inside a closed world of their own Magical Thinking

In their tiny little world (and minds) – no matter what happens, CO2 did it

Is that a ‘cult’ that’s going on in there, what is it? What’s the word for it?
Take little notice of their science, simply watch a lovely example of closed minds, wilful blindness and obsessive compulsion.
In their own words, a Tipping Point has occurred and they drive themselves over/past it almost daily

(take care that you don’t follow them into that same trap)

edit to Self Deprecate
That’s me and my Soil Erosion (SE)

The Problem with SE is that it is soooooooo BIG and, relative to you & me timescales, so slow moving.
Folks become ‘used to it’, they think that it is Natural Variation.

Absolutely Yes It Is, it is what drives Ice Ages.

The very Real Problem is that we, the huge numbers of us combined with our (imagined) need for sugar (starch to eat) – we have hugely accelerated that natural process.
(Culprits/processes being= ploughs, paddy fields, cutting/burning/overgrazing, Roundup and worst of all – Ammonium Nitrate)

A beautiful example being from aaaages ago when I asserted on here that (river) flood water should not be brown/orange/red/yellow in colour. That it should be translucent/clear/light grey at most.

Someone came right back at me, telling me that ‘As far as they knew in their 50+ year lifetime, flood water was always brown’

There in lies the problem, prior to the Industrial Revolution, it wasn’t

How do you get that message across or even demonstrate it?

Last edited 26 days ago by Peta of Newark
Reply to  Peta of Newark
September 2, 2021 3:33 am

I’m not sure you’re right there. Flood water tends to be fast moving, therefore picks up a lot of sediment.

prior to the Industrial Revolution, it wasn’t.

C’mon, you’re not that old!

Richard Page
Reply to  Disputin
September 2, 2021 4:11 pm

Prior to the Industrial Revolution a lot of rivers, especially in Europe, were open sewers coloured by urine and faeces. Frankly I prefer silt and sediment.

Joao Martins
September 2, 2021 3:42 am

Again, the keyword is “could be caused“.

Of course, if you dig deep in (non-causal) correlations, you will find many things that “could cause” a lot of other things…

The breakthrough: mercury! Mercury that “could cause” the existence of “tipping points

My BS bell rang at “tipping points”. This is not science, this is superstitious guesswork.

September 2, 2021 3:45 am

This is another silly paper. From The Let’s blame CO2 Dept.

Forget and everything else that volcanos spew into the biosphere. The more important question the paper seems to ignore is what caused the increased volcanic activity. Supposedly, 65 million years ago an asteroid smacked into the planet which also released CO2 reserves. 10 million years this happened and apparently the CO2 reserves were released again. Today we also have CO2 reserves. Seems to me CO2 reserves wax and wanes but is always lags or out of phase temperature changes.

September 2, 2021 4:05 am

New research from Van Wijngaarden and Happer shows that “greenhouse” effect of all GHGs is saturated and explains what saturation means.

Greenhouse Saturation Research Could Kill The “Climate Emergency” | Tallbloke’s Talkshop (

Chris G
Reply to  Hatter Eggburn
September 4, 2021 3:42 pm

Saturated at sea level does not mean saturated at a higher altitude. All this result means is that increasing concentrations of GH gas will move the effective radiating level (ERL) upwards as lower levels are saturated. This in turn gives a greater surface temperature resulting from the effect of the lapse rate from the higher ERL to the surface.

September 2, 2021 5:38 am

Volcanoes cause warming and cooling? They seem to simply reach a conclusion and then find a baseless reason.

September 2, 2021 7:27 am

This has nothing to do with the article except tipping point is important to the global warming crowd because a sudden change in climate requires urgent legislative action and legislation is a powerful tool for societal change and government control.

We do have little time to save the world from the global warming crowd.

Kristian Fredriksson
September 2, 2021 8:02 am

What does it say? The mean temperature at the poles change 20 C between a glaciation period and a warm period and that changes the CO2 concentration by 100 PPM. It was definitely not a tipping point. The opposite is true, because the temperature was corrected down very fast by negative feedback. It was a strong disturbance that the climate system took care of in a good way.

Bruce Cobb
September 2, 2021 8:16 am

“Carbon reservoirs”. Gigglesnort. Pulled that one out of their arse, did they? They are still stuck on Stupid. When all you have is a hammer…

September 2, 2021 11:23 am

Waffle word double talk soup.
Lots of convoluted assumptions.
Lots of claims for greater time resolution on trace amounts.
Lots of sliding scales on graphs to ‘align’ samples.
Lots of tortured data and logic.

After all of this data and word gesticulating they do not have “proof”, firm “evidence” or replication.

Last edited 26 days ago by ATheoK
Tom Abbott
September 2, 2021 8:01 pm

From the article: “The research indicates the existence of tipping points in the Earth’s System—which could trigger the release of additional carbon reservoirs that drove the Earth’s climate to unprecedented high temperatures.”

Well, if Dr. Happer is correct about CO2 being almost saturated at the current CO2 level of 420ppm, it seems that any levels of CO2 much above current levels, would have little effect on the atmospheric temperatures.

Methinks the alarmists are going to have to find something else other than CO2 for the temperatue control knob.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
September 3, 2021 12:20 pm

I don’t know why WUWT are not posting the new paper by Van Wijngaarden and Happer, which shows comprehensive saturation.

Michael S. Kelly
September 3, 2021 4:25 am

“In the new study, the researchers have identified elevated levels of mercury just before and at the outset of the PETM—which could be caused by expansive volcanic activity—in samples taken from sedimentary cores in the North Sea.”

Or…the elevated levels of mercury could have been from all of the thermometers popping at the new high temperatures, like you see in old movies. They might be reversing cause and effect, here.

Last edited 25 days ago by Michael S. Kelly
john harmsworth
September 3, 2021 7:49 am

Sure, sure. Tipping points. So how did it cool down again in 150,000 years? They can un-tip too? Sounds lie the climate is one of those rocking bird-that-drinks things. They involve alcohol, too.

Richard Page
Reply to  john harmsworth
September 3, 2021 3:39 pm

I think it’s more like a very slow pendulum but anything that helps!

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