Earth’s Fiery History

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 6,943
    New research pinpoints the cause of Earth’s extreme temperatures around three million years ago–wildfires.


    New research from Yale University found that wildfires contributed to Earth’s scorching ancient climate of three million years ago.  The team used a NASA model to simulate Earth’s ecosystem emissions and atmospheric composition of the Pliocene and pre-industrial eras.  They determined that forests and smoke from wildfires released volatile compounds into the atmosphere causing more global warming than atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide.   And since deforestation didn’t exist then, well obviously there were no humans, there were a lot of trees to burn.  These compounds released altered Earth’s radiation balance which resulted in two to three times the warming of carbon dioxide, making a much hotter climate, even though carbon dioxide levels are about the same as today.  So in conclusion, trees typically are good for climate change, but as with anything-too much of a good thing can be bad.