Naked Science Forum

Non Life Sciences => Geology, Palaeontology & Archaeology => Topic started by: Mazurka on 15/03/2010 13:41:10

Title: Is the PETM a valid analogy for todays climate change issues?
Post by: Mazurka on 15/03/2010 13:41:10
(Sorry, I don't know if this is best in here or environment - mods feel free to move)

The Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum is an event in the earths history, that is increasingly well understood.  It was a sharp spike in the earths temperature (approx 6C in 20k years) attributed to a sudden rise in atmospheric CO2.  Whilst this is not the greatest spike, or hottest temperature or highest concentration of CO2 in the geological record, it may have significant parallels with the current debate about the consequences of fossil CO2 release since the industrial revolution.

Dr Bryan Lovell, the incoming president of the Geological Society, is (amongst other things) a prominent petroleum geologist.  The link below is to a lecture and Q&A session he made to the Geological Society in November.  The lecture is about an hour long and the Q&A 1/2 hour - but don't let that put you off, it is fascinating.

As well as expressing his view about the importance of the PETM as an analog for today, he also suggests what the oil industry can do to help counter climate change. (

Ultimately, I would be interested in other peoples views about Dr Lovell's contention that the PETM can be seen as a warning and about the prospects for carbon storage (more fully explored in the Q&A)