Asteroid that wiped out dinosaurs triggered rapid global warming across Earth – the scientists think.
The asteroid that smashed into the Earth 65 million years ago, triggering a mass extinction also drove a persistent bout of lethal global warming.
Temperatures across the planet’s surface increased rapidly by 5°C, and remained that high for the next 100 000 years, according to a new study.
Scientists think this sudden rise, which contributed to a wave of extinctions that swept the planet, is comparable to the global warming that is currently gripping the planet.
Global warming after the asteroid impact
Dr Ken MacLeod, a geologist at the University of Missouri who led the research, said the impact of the infamous Chicxulub asteroid would have triggered wildfires that burned for months.
“You have a period of years to decades where you’re pumping large amounts of carbon dioxide by burning everything on the surface of the Earth into the atmosphere,” – Dr MacLeod told
This led to rapid warming due to the influx of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
While the Earth has gone through many phases of intense heating in its long history, many of which left large swathes of the planet completely uninhabitable, what Dr Macleod noted about this period was its similarity to human-induced global warming.
“What’s unusually comparable about the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary and the modern is that the rates are so similar,” he said.
“Those changes in greenhouse gas concentrations after the impact would have occurred on the timescale of decades, whereas the changes we have brought about have occurred over a century and a half.”, – Dr Macleod added.
Researchers estimate that 65 million years ago, an asteroid that was 6 to 9 miles in size crashed into the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. They estimate that temperatures rose exponentially for the first minutes or hours then decreased dramatically due to the amount of dust and soot that blocked out the sun after the impact. Carbon dioxide released during the impact caused global warming that occurred after.
This study is the first to show the impact of the greenhouse gases that were released in this period and to say how long the global warming lasted after the impact.
IF YOU ARE USING OUR CONTENT PLEASE LEAVE A LINK TO OUR WEBSITE.