116 Years of Climate Change - Visualized

Last year I stumbled upon this graphic created by Antti Lipponen, a researcher at the Finnish Meteorological Institute, showing the change in the Earth's atmospheric temperature at various countries over the past 116 years, and today I want to share it with those who might not have seen it. It's a powerful 30 seconds, and the temperatures positive rate of change shown is at least 10 times faster than ever before measured throughout geologic time.

To put today's climate change into context, let's look back at the geologic record. 55.5 MYA the Earth went through a warming phase brought about by increased volcanic activity called the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. For 20,000 years massive amounts of carbon dioxide were released into the atmosphere at a rate of on average 0.2 gigatonnes per year (at peaks 0.58 gigatonnes). This 20,000 years of intense atmospheric modification caused the climate to increase in temperature by 5–8 °C, and temperatures stayed elevated for 200,000 years. 

Today humans today add about 10 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere per year.

Stefan Burns1 Comment