Sometime between the Paleocene and Eocene epochs, there was a mysterious, sudden, dramatic rise in global temperature. This moment in time was known as the "Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum", shortened into "PETM". In just 20 to 50 millennia, the temperature rose by five to eight degrees Celsius, and this heatweave persisted for another 200 millennia (that's just the mean estimate.) As a result...well, I'll leave this map to visualize the results for you:

enter image description here

Now in an alternate Earth, the PETM hit at the same time at the same speed, but it persisted for three to four times longer than in our timeline. Would this make the global climate hotter?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "Would this make the global climate hotter?": Hotter than what? $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Jan 14 at 1:00
  • $\begingroup$ If the PETM is a phenomenon which makes the global climate hotter, then yes, it would make the global climate hotter. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Jan 14 at 1:09
  • $\begingroup$ @ARogueAnt.: The Eocene Thermal Maximum 1 (aka PETM) was not quite so very warm compared to the Cretaceous (and to the early Carboniferous). The point being that hyperwarm conditions can persist for quite a long time, just like hypercold conditions. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Jan 14 at 1:09
  • $\begingroup$ I plainly don't know much about the way the climate system works, my assumption about it being self-limiting is quite probably wrong. It still seems odd that Antarctica is missing from the map above. (BTW I was the first to +1). $\endgroup$ Jan 14 at 1:13
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This seems trivially true $\endgroup$ Jan 14 at 1:38

You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .