Researchers Konstantin Arnscheidt and Daniel Rothman of the famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology have now been able to show this. They evaluated data documenting global temperature over the past 66 million years. These ancient climate records include ice cores from Antarctica and the chemistry of prehistoric marine fossils, which tell us a lot about what Earth’s atmosphere was like in the distant past.
“This entire study is only possible because there have been great strides in improving the accuracy of deep-sea temperature records,” she said. He said Arnscheidt. “Now we have data going back 66 million years, with data points separated by thousands of years at most.”
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During the analysis, a pattern emerged from the data indicating the occurrence of feedback loops that allow the Earth to maintain climate within a certain range of fluctuations over the long term. Despite very different influences, some of which had a significant effect on the Earth’s surface and atmosphere, these stabilizing mechanisms ensured that conditions always remained within the range that would allow life.
For example, a very long time ago, the Sun was less powerful than it is today, and only an atmosphere rich in carbon dioxide produced enough greenhouse effects to prevent the planet from becoming a giant ice ball. However, much of the carbon was then pulled out of the air by silicate weathering. On the other hand, large volcanic eruptions caused the concentration to rise again and again. In addition, there are many other influences that have a regulatory effect, so although there were obvious climatic changes, they did not threaten life as a whole.
However, feedback loops operate over longer periods of time. So it is in keeping with climate changes that occur naturally and take thousands of years to complete. In this respect, they have no effect on man-made changes in the global climate, which have caused temperatures to rise dramatically in a matter of decades.