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Science

Earth's Interior Affects Long-Term Sea-Level And Climate Change

Climate change deniers are often want to pronounce the current trends in our climate as being part of a larger cycle of warming. Despite the overwhelming lack of evidence for such a claim, it is always important to look at climate cycles to see where and how they might play a part.

New research published in the journal Eos looks at the long-term cyclical activity of the world below our planet’s surface.

Long-term Cyclical Activity influences sea level and climate change
Ancient rises in sea levels and global warming are partially attributable to cyclical activity below the earth’s surface, researchers from NYU and Ottawa’s Carleton University have concluded in an analysis of geological studies.
Image Credit: iStockPhoto.com/lan ning

Article author’s Michael Rampino from New York University and Andreas Prokoph from Carleton University found that cyclical activity below the Earth’s surface does indeed play a part in rising sea levels and global warming.

Taking place in periods ranging from 60 million to 140 million years: not 100 years.

Rampino and Prokoph’s analysis looked at long-term fluctuations in the global climate, the diversity of marine organisms, and sea level changes, in an attempt to identify a unifying cause.

Recent studies into what goes on beneath our planet’s surface have found that the upwelling of mantle plumes — the rising up of heated rocks from the mantle that eventually reach the surface — have a noticeable impact on the eruption of large igneous provinces — known as LIPs — which are basically large masses of rocks that have formed from congealed lava.

Rampino and Prokoph analysed recent scientific findings and observed that the mantle plumes coincide with cyclical surface changes, which in turn suggests that the mantle plumes themselves may be cyclical.

One example comes from Prokoph’s own recent research which documents the fact that many geological changes had cycles of 60 to 140 million years.

More broadly, the researchers write, mantle plumes push up against the earth crust, shifting water to continents, thereby producing sea-level rise, and precipitating volcanic activity, which produces additional CO2, leading to a warmer climate.

“Mantle plumes appear to show regular cycles,” Rampino explained. “So what’s remarkable is there is a strong indication of a connection between changes on the earth’s surface—such as volcanic activity and rising sea levels—and what’s occurring deep inside the earth. This suggests a fascinating and powerful union between below-surface geological events and changes in our climate.”




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