A new study showed that the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are higher than they were at any stage during the past 23 million years – a much longer period than previously thought, and researchers say that high levels of carbon dioxide today are a direct result of human activity and fluctuate At an unprecedented rate in the geological timeline.
According to the British “Daily Mail” website, a team from the University of Louisiana in Lafayette used the fossilized remains of plant tissue to discover the new and much older record of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Using a new carbon measurement technology, they were able to look at the changes in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that go back far beyond history.
The authors of the study said: “The common message used to communicate the risk of climate change to the public is that carbon dioxide levels are higher today than they were a million years ago.”
The researchers used a new method to determine that levels are already higher than they were 23 million years ago, and that they are changing and fluctuating at an unprecedented rate in history.
When asked about the link between their findings and climate change, one of the researchers explained: “The current rise in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the result of human activity.”
He added: “This rise is faster than any measurement we have measured over at least 23 million years of Earth’s history, and we conclude from our work that even small changes in carbon dioxide can have a measurable impact on ecosystems, in the past and today.”
The authors say this indicates that today’s sudden climate change is unique across recent geological history and a call for action to tackle the problem before it gets worse.
The researchers developed a new technique for studying stable isotopes in carbon and how they change in response to levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
The study, published in geology, included measuring the relative quantities of these carbon isotopes in petrified plants and calculating the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere when older plants grew.
The study authors found that ecosystems and temperatures could be more sensitive to smaller changes in carbon dioxide than previously thought.