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Greenhouse Heating to Ice Age … by Numbers

15 January 2013

At www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2013/01/when-alligators-roamed-the-arctic-… … foraminifera plankton live and die around the world in virtually every part of the oceans. Immense blooms of marine plankton can actually be seen from space – and when they die their shells fall to the sea floor. Or largely so. When they are eaten they are disgorged and also end up on the sea floor and in just the smallest parcels of ocean bottom there can be thousands of shells – which is why they are so popular with scientists in so many ways. They now claim to have tracked phases of expansion – and contraction. Numbers rise and frall over time. However, not all plankton shell survive – some are dissolved. Chemistry dictates when and where this happens – and environmental change is the name of the game. Plankton species also have defined geographical distribution – which is useful. For example, at the K/T boundary (end of the Dinosaurs) there was a strong response in plankton – as might be expected. There was also another date or time-line that popped out of the research – 34 million years ago the global climate shifted from a greenhouse condition to one where recognisable ice sheets could be found at the poles. Rather, it is assumed in the Plate Tectonics paradigm there was a greenhouse condition in which the world had slipped into during the Oligocene. Indeed, the switch occurs at the boundary of the Oligocene with the Eocene – and this is when alligators cease to inhabitant regions close to the Arctic. In other words, we have a case of an abrupt change in climate, as in the two extremes in the headline. What really happened?

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