The Asteroid that Killed Dinosaurs Also Caused Global Warming

Dinosaur asteroid caused massive global warming for Earth | Daily Star

When the asteroid that struck the Earth in Chicxulub, Mexico, slammed into the surface some 66 million years ago it made life incredibly hard for just about every living creature on the planet.

On the Yucatan Peninsula and the Gulf of Mexico has always been discovered the remains of a crater with a width of 200 km. Scientists have long theorized that an initial pulse of heat was followed by a devastating global winter. Then, when carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has become more planet into a greenhouse. "By a few countless years after the asteroid effect, we have direct proof of arboreal fossil birds".

According to Daniel Field, the leader of the research, the aftermath of that catastrophe obliterated all the forests on the planet.

The study suggests that even a relatively brief pulse of Carbon dioxide can have a lingering effect. "It's even more impressive to find 5 degrees of warming in North Africa and perhaps 10 degrees [C, 18 degrees F] of warming off the coast of Australia", he said.

The investigation showed that global temperatures increased by about five degrees Celsius and persisted for roughly 100,000 years after the asteroid struck the Earth.

When fish build minerals in their teeth, bones and scales, the temperature of the surrounding water dictates how much of a specific type or isotope of oxygen, called oxygen-18, is laid down. It's a famous site, featuring a geological formation with sedimentary layers from the end of the Cretaceous period (when dinosaurs roamed the Earth) and the start of the Paleogene period. This is known now to scientists as the K/Pg boundary. When the fragments show a shift in isotopic ratio, this signals the change of temperature and in this case there is a clear indication of long-term global warming. The researchers then obtained more samples and continued scrutinizing the debris, and the pattern initially detected held up over time.

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And while fossil animals like dinosaurs and birds often get more love than fossil plants, Dunn says that plants are critical to understanding life on earth. First came the impact itself, with shock waves and tsunamis. With soot completely blanketing the atmosphere, plants were unable to grow back.

"The first six months, it was nearly a blackout", said NASA planetary scientist Adriana Ocampo, who was not involved in the new study. "We know that the diversity of bird communities is impacted by the availability of forests - when forests are cut down in favor of, for example, palm oil monoculture, bird diversity is slashed".

Yet the mass extinction, known as the Cretaceous-Palaeogene or "K-Pg" event, was just as important for what it created as for what it destroyed.

MacLeod's study is the first to present empirical evidence of how long this greenhouse gas-related global warming lasted and how substantial it was. "It is at most a centimeter thick", said Julio Sepulveda, a geologist at the University of Colorado, Boulder. "That is really freakish".

"The authors have done a great job at presenting a very compelling argument about the role of globally disappearing forests in the evolution of modern birds", says Luis Chiappe, an expert on early birds and director of the Dinosaur Institute at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, California.

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