- Aug 26, 2005
I watched a video last night, which I now can't find, that had quite a few very qualified people speaking who all said that changes to carbon levels follow temperature changes and that the lag is about 800 years.
Both of these statements are probably correct, although the research I linked to in an earlier post suggests that the 'lag' is sometimes significantly less than 800 years. In a context which does not involve fossil fuel consumption, then the rise in temperatures at the end of a glaciation is not caused by CO2, but by other factors, mostly to do with the Earth's absorption of solar energy and its orbital parameters. CO2 rises then follow, and amplify those rises in temperature.It may be because CO2 and methane are locked away in ice at the poles and in the permafrost layers in some countries.
A warming climate can cause thawing and then a consequent rise in CO2 and methane.
Human use of fossil fuels reverses this relationship, and causes an increase in the absorption of solar energy without the need for a change in orbital characteristics. That is why we can't ignore it - the change is superimposed on top of other natural changes, but it is all upwards.