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Appalachian Mountains, Carbon Dioxide Caused Long-ago Global Cooling

Science Daily – October 26, 2006

This study by Ohio State University offers some interesting opinions that CO2 levels affect the climate of the world.  The study theorizes that the rise of the Appalachian mountains in eastern US and their subsequent weathering pulled CO2 out of the atmosphere and cause an ice house effect.

Scientists have suspected that our current ice age, which began 40 million years ago, was caused by the rise of the Himalayas. This new study links a much earlier major ice age –one that occurred during the Ordovician period — to the uplift of the early Appalachians.

Because we are currently living in an ice age — or, more precisely, in a slightly warmer interglacial period within an ice age — CO2 levels worldwide would ordinarily be low; but scientists believe that humans have raised CO2 levels by burning fossil fuels.

In this study, we’re seeing remarkable evidence that suggests atmospheric CO2 levels were in fact dropping at the same time that the planet was getting colder. So this significantly reinforces the idea that CO2 is a major driver of climate.

The chemical reaction that weathered away part of the Appalachians would have consumed large amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere - right around the time that the Ordovician ice age began.

In the Himalayas, the process would have been the same — silicate rocks are exposed to the atmosphere, weathering sucks CO2 out of the atmosphere and chills the planet.

Read the article here.

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