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Scientists study 66 million years of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere

Scientists study 66 million years of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere

Researchers from the University of Utah and the University of Columbia, both in the USA, analyzed the evolution of carbon dioxide (CO₂) concentrations over thousands of years and its effects on Earth’s climate.

Carbon dioxide is currently at its highest concentration in the atmosphere, at 419 parts per million (ppm), which is worsening the situation on our planet.

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The research, conducted by scientists from Utah and Colombia, aims to find out if this is the first time carbon dioxide concentration has reached this level. To this end, they created the Cenozoic Carbon Dioxide Proxy Integration Project (CenCO2PIP).

The greatest earthly memory

  • According to the ZME SciencesIn the study, the scientists explain that it is possible to directly measure the carbon dioxide present in different eras.
  • This is based on analysis of the amounts of air bubbles in samples extracted from glaciers.
  • But this technology is limited, as we can only go back in time to 800,000 years, where the glaciers “end”;
  • Another method involves analyzing isotopes and organic materials in the lower layers;
  • This system is known as proxy and takes place indirectly, in addition to being less precise;
  • In order for the data the research team is collecting to be well organized, they want to go back (well) back 66 million years.

The first data from the analysis show that carbon dioxide concentration may have reached 1,600 ppm in the Cenozoic period, but declined over time and reached 270 ppm in the Pleistocene period.

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As we can imagine, with the Industrial Revolution beginning in the mid-18th century, and existing industries in the 21st century, the current concentration level of carbon dioxide (419 ppm) reached its highest level of 14 million years.

Prediction and prevention

By studying 66 million years, researchers hope to better understand and predict the future of the planet and humans, if promises to reduce the production of greenhouse gases are not fulfilled.

Today, the concentration of carbon dioxide is expected to reach 600 ppm to 1000 ppm by 2100, which shows that studies, such as those conducted by CenCO2PIP, have added value for prevention, saving ourselves and our home, and creating strategies and mitigation of climate change. And the effect of global warming.

Preliminary data from the study were published in Sciences.

What is carbon dioxide?

Carbon dioxide, or CO₂, is one of the gases most responsible for global warming. It is generated by burning fossil fuels, such as oil, coal, and even natural gas.

Therefore, understanding how they accumulated on Earth over the ages is essential.