While we hear often about how the earth has been through several phases of extreme climate changes such as the ice ages, new evidence is ready to shed some light on a warmer time on earth. According to new research by a team of scientists from the UK and Germany, about 90 million years ago, the earth was warmer than what it was thought to be.
The conclusions of this study are based on evidence such as analysis of the preserved roots, pollen and spores from the Cretaceous period. This was gathered from forest soil from within 900 kilometers of the South Pole. This also reveals that the levels of carbon dioxide during the mid-Cretaceous period, which was about 115-80 million years ago, were higher than previously assumed.
Lead author Dr. Johann Klages, from the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research said, “Before our study, the general assumption was that the global carbon dioxide concentration in the Cretaceous was roughly 1000 ppm. But in our model-based experiments, it took concentration levels of 1120 to 1680 ppm to reach the average temperatures back then in the Antarctic.”
The Cretaceous period is marked to be somewhere between 145 to 66 million years ago and was the last of the three periods of the Mesozoic era. The mid-Cretaceous period was also a prime time for dinosaurs. On the basis of the evidence discovered, scientists compare the vegetation in the region to present-day New Zealand, despite the four-month polar night.
The results of this study have now been published in the Nature journal.