Arctic Ice Melt
3 million years ago
Climate modeling of paleo observations indicate that 3 million years ago mid-pliocene, the average global temperature was 2-3°C higher than today, and global sea level was around 25m higher. Studies show that as the pliocene ended, glaciation in the Northern hemisphere (north pole/Arctic) ice sheet began.
One of the keys to what helped the world cool was the closing of the isthmus in Panama. When the movement of the tectonic plates moved and closed the isthmus, the Atlantic was no longer able to receive warm water from the larger Pacific ocean. This allowed the Atlantic to cool more in the winter and this played a large part in development of the glaciation.
The fact that without significant changes from the natural system combined with the known changes to atmospheric conditions, especially by the release of additional greenhouse gases altering the balance of atmospheric forcing leads us to the reasonable conclusion that mans interference in the system through industrial output of greenhouse gases has significantly altered the climate and climate potential by introducing human caused global warming.
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- NASA Earth Observatory, Arctic Routes open again.
- Bartoli, G. et al. Final closure of Panama and the onset of northern hemisphere glaciation. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 237, 3344 (2005).
- Van Andel (1994), p. 226.