Warming patterns during Earth’s last period of prolonged global warmth differed dramatically from modern temperature patterns, according to new research by a Yale University scientist and colleagues. Cloud feedbacks, ocean mixing, or other dynamic factors must have played a greater role in Pliocene warming than commonly recognized, the scientists argue, and these must be accounted for in order to make meaningful predictions about Earth’s future climate.
In a paper published April 4 in the journal Nature, Yale climate scientist Alexey Fedorov and colleagues compile records of sea surface temperatures going back five million years, to the early Pliocene. These records reveal a world with fairly uniform warm temperatures in the whole of the Tropics prior to 4 million years ago — a significant scenario that typical climate model simulations fail to show. (more…)