An international team of geoscientists believes that carbon dioxide, and not changes in cosmic ray intensity, was the factor controlling ancient global temperatures. The new findings resulted from the researchers inclusion of the oceans changing acidity in their calculations.
"Reviewing the geologic records of carbon dioxide and glaciations, we found that carbon dioxide was low during periods of long-lived and widespread continental glaciations and high during other, warmer periods," says Dr. Dana L. Royer, research associate in geosciences at Penn State. "Previous suggestions that cosmic ray flux correlated better with ancient temperatures than carbon dioxides do not appear true. While cosmic ray flux may be of some climatic significance, it is likely of second-order importance on a multimillion year timescale."
The researchers looked at climate changes that occurred over the past 570 million years. A direct record of global temperature and carbon dioxide exists for the past 100 years and ice cores provide carbon dioxide information for the past 400,000 years. However, for the remainder of the years, there are no direct measurements.
A’ndrea Elyse Messer | EurekAlert!
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