Study: The Late Cretaceous Period was likely ice-free

The author of the study makes an intellectual error by implying that rising CO2 levels caused an ice-free Earth; correlation, after all, is not necessarily causation — did the CO2 rise precede or follow the ice-free state, or were they both effects of another cause (solar cycles, for example)? Still, the basic research is interesting and the map of Cretaceous Earth is neat.

Watts Up With That?


From the University of Missouri-Columbia

COLUMBIA, Mo. – For years, scientists have thought that a continental ice sheet formed during the Late Cretaceous Period more than 90 million years ago when the climate was much warmer than it is today. Now, a University of Missouri researcher has found evidence suggesting that no ice sheet formed at this time. This finding could help environmentalists and scientists predict what the earth’s climate will be as carbon dioxide levels continue to rise.

“Currently, carbon dioxide levels are just above 400 parts per million (ppm), up approximately 120 ppm in the last 150 years and rising about 2 ppm each year,” said Ken MacLeod, a professor of geological sciences at MU. “In our study, we found that during the Late Cretaceous Period, when carbon dioxide levels were around 1,000 ppm, there were no continental ice sheets on earth. So, if carbon dioxide levels continue…

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