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Understanding the Earth’s Deep Past (2011)

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Understanding the Earth’s Deep Past: Lessons for Our Climate Future (2011)

A better understanding of how Earth will respond to future climate change could be gained by looking tens of millions of years back into Earth’s past, this National Research Council report finds. Without a reduction in emissions, by the end of this century atmospheric carbon dioxide is projected to increase to levels that Earth has not experienced for more than 30 million years. Critical insights to understanding how Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, and ecosystems would function in this high carbon dioxide environment are contained in the records of warm periods and major climate transitions from Earth’s geological past. This report provides a research agenda for an improved understanding of earth system processes during the transition to a warmer world.