Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Tropical oceans were overheated during prehistoric greenhouse effect


Biogeochemists from the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research have shown that prehistoric tropical oceans were no less than five to eight degrees warmer than they are now. Their findings have been published in the December issue of the renowned American journal Geology.

During the mid-Cretaceous period, some 90 to 120 million years ago, the seawater around the equator had a temperature of 30 to 37 degrees Celsius, which is five to eight degrees higher than the temperature now. This was revealed in research that used a new method to determine the temperatures of oceans in the distant past.

The finding concurs with recently developed climate models, which indicate that higher carbon dioxide concentrations in the greenhouse climate of 90 to 120 million years ago resulted in warmer tropical oceans. The biogeochemists’ findings reveal how seawater temperatures changed when large quantities of greenhouse gases entered the atmosphere. Scientists had suspected that seawater temperatures were significantly higher then, but no method had been available to precisely determine these.

The new method is based on the chemical structure of membrane lipids in archaea, which are also referred to as archeabacteria. These organisms live in the surface waters of oceans. The composition of the membrane lipids was found to depend on the seawater temperature. At higher temperatures, the organisms produce greater quantities of lipid molecules containing rings.

The researchers examined fossil remains taken from the floors of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The remains were located in deposits from the mid-Cretaceous period, which is known for its very high concentrations of greenhouse gases.

Earlier research by the biogeochemists had demonstrated that the membrane lipids of archaea remained conserved in sediments. In a paper published in Science two years ago, scientists described the discovery of fossil remains containing membrane lipids 112 million years old. Since then the researchers have found remains as old as 140 million years.

Sonja Jacobs | NWO
Further information:

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Wandering greenhouse gas
16.03.2018 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

nachricht Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System
14.03.2018 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>