Toronto professor says ancient earth saved by CO2
The greenhouse effect likely saved primitive life from extinction on a frigid "Snowball Earth" 700 million years ago, a University of Toronto expert in ancient climate concludes in research published today.
And that set the stage for the eventual explosion of species that produced today’s world, says Richard Peltier, a professor of atmospheric physics. Peltier says carbon dioxide produced from the decay of minute organic particles in the oceans warmed the ancient atmosphere enough to prevent the entire planet from being covered with massive sheets of ice, a controversial theory dubbed Snowball Earth when it was first proposed a decade ago.
"The biosphere defended itself against a hard-snowball catastrophe. The planet was actually closer to a slushball," he said.