have turned to desert, ice sheets have vanished from both poles,
rising seas are pouring into continental basins.
were at a simlar level 55 million years ago following a sudden period
of global warming in the early Eocene, it is believed that the increase
was caused by Methane Hydrate.
is a combination of methane and water that forms under the intense
cold and pressure of the deep sea and which escapes with explosive
force when disturbed. Evidence of ancient submarine landslides off
Florida and huge volcanic eruptions under the North Atlantic suggests
the possibility of the release of trapped methane, a greenhouse
gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, released in one giant
belch and pushing global temperatures through the roof.
total amount of carbon dioxide during the Eocene exceeded today's,
the present rate of increase is still the fastest the world has
ever seen, faster than the episodes which caused mass extinctions
like the Permian extinction, when global temperatures rose by 6
degrees and 95% of species were wiped out.