Study: Earth’s climate more sensitive to CO2 than previously thought

Sure, I believe a nonfalsiable hypothesis about 50 million years ago vs. NASA/NOAA satellite data.

The media release is below.


Study: Earth’s climate more sensitive to CO2 than previously thought
Return to hothouse climate may take less carbon dioxide than expected


BINGHAMTON, NY – Ancient climates on Earth may have been more sensitive to carbon dioxide than was previously thought, according to new research from Binghamton University.

A team of Binghamton University researchers including geology PhD student Elliot A. Jagniecki and professors Tim Lowenstein, David Jenkins and Robert Demicco examined nahcolite crystals found in Colorado’s Green River Formation, formed 50 million years old during a hothouse climate. They found that CO2 levels during this time may have been as low as 680 parts per million (ppm), nearly half the 1,125 ppm predicted by previous experiments. The new data suggests that past predictions significantly underestimate the impact of greenhouse warming and that Earth’s climate may be more sensitive to increased carbon dioxide than was once thought, said Lowenstein.

“The significance of this is that CO2 50 million years ago may not have been as high as we once thought it was, but the climate back then was significantly warmer than it is today,” said Lowenstein.”

CO2 levels in the atmosphere today have reached 400 ppm. According to current projections, doubling the CO2 will result in a rise in the global average temperature of 3 degrees Centigrade. This new research suggests that the effects of CO2 on global warming may be underestimated.

“Take notice that carbon dioxide 50 million years ago may not have been as high as we once thought it was. We may reach that level in the next century, and so the climate change from that increase could be pretty severe, pretty dramatic. CO2 and other climate forcings may be more important for global warming than we realized.”

The only direct measurement of carbon dioxide is from ice cores, which only go back less than 1 million years. Lowenstein and his team are trying to develop ways to estimate ancient carbon dioxide in the atmosphere using indirect proxies. He said that their approach is different than any ever undertaken.

“These are direct chemical measurements that are based on equilibrium thermodynamics,” he said. “These are direct laboratory experiments, so I think they’re really reliable.

Lowenstein wants to look at nahcolite deposits in China to confirm the results found in Colorado.


The study, “Eocene atmospheric CO2 from the nahcolite proxy,” was published Oct. 23 in Geology.

6 thoughts on “Study: Earth’s climate more sensitive to CO2 than previously thought”

  1. And what was the water vapor content of the atmosphere at that time? Also, what other “greenhouse gasses” such as methane etc were present and in what concentrations. Also, what was the solar constant at that time? Without a decent characterization of the atmosphere and energy input the “sensitivity” calculated means nothing.

  2. Umm, what about the ice age where CO2 was more than 10 times today? Forget about that part, did they?


    After a lengthy, frank and open discussion of AGW with Smithsonian’s Dr. Kenneth M. Towe on ResearchGate revealed how humans were dehumanized” and “internationalized to save the world from nuclear annihilation after WWII.

    In discussing the possibility that “A natural solar eruption today might trigger a retaliatory nuclear exchange that would literally DESTROY MODERN CIVILIZATION,” Smithsonian’s Dr. Kenneth M. Towe said “If a solar storm occurred today, we will have had forecasts already that it was coming. No nuclear attack will happen…at least for that reason, because the world will know in advance that communications can be disrupted.”

    When questioned about the reliability of solar storm forecasts and sharing those forecasts with the leaders of all other nuclear nations – China, England, France, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, South Africa, etc. . . .

    Dr. Kenneth M. Towe replied Solar eruptions are 100% predictable and Communications worldwide have come a long way . . .

    LOCK-STEP, CONSENSUS SCIENCE probably began in that worldwide council of frightened leaders of nuclear nations trying to avoid nuclear annihilation by promoting falsehoods about the source of energy (E) stored as mass (m) in cores heavy atoms, some planets, ordinary stars and galaxies:

  4. The comments above miss the point. The temporal resolution of the data is +/-20,000 years. Yep, a chemical analysis of NaHCO3 (nacholite) can possibly estimate an atmospheric CO2 content, but if you can’t tell the date with +/-20,000 years then how do you tell if the temperature led or lagged the change in CO2 by days, months, decades, or millennium? All of the historical data is so temporally coarse that there is no way to tell if the CO2 content is the cause of a temperature change or the result of that change.

  5. As has been noted, there are a lot of variables not considered. I suppose the results were verified by direct observation and analysis, so that the atmospheric mix of gasses at that time is known, the ratio of free CO2 conversion to mineral is known, and that any gain or loss of mineral concentration over time is known.

  6. I urge everyone interested in the AGW issue to

    1. Read comments on “Convincing evidence for AGW?”

    2. Consider the implication of statements by Smithsonian’s Dr. Kenneth M. Towe that:

    _ a.) Solar storms are 100% predictable, and
    _ b.) Leaders of all nuclear nations* would be advised before a powerful solar eruption destroyed electronic communications and the electrical power grid and plunged modern civilization into darkness without electrical power.

    *China, England, France, India, Iran, Isreal, Japan, Pakistan, Russia, South Africa, USA, etc.

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