The rate of release of carbon into the atmosphere today is nearly 10 times as fast as during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), 55.9 million years ago. The Maximum is the best analog we have for current global warming, according to an international team of geologists.
Rate matters and this current rapid change may not allow sufficient time for the biological environment to adjust.
“Rather than the 20,000 years of the PETM which is long enough for ecological systems to adapt, carbon is now being released into the atmosphere at a rate 10 times faster,” said researchers on the project. “It is possible that this is faster than ecosystems can adapt.”