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Enter the Anthropocene: an Epoch of time characterised by humans

journal contribution
posted on 04.06.2020, 14:46 by Mark Williams, J Zalasiewicz
The Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggests changes to water supply, ecosystems, biodiversity, food supply, coastal regions and human health based on a 1˚C to 5˚C change in global climate. Changes to the life support system of planet Earth become profound beyond a 2˚C mean rise in global temperature, well within the envelope of global warming predicted for the 21st century. With a greater rise in global temperature ‘significant extinctions’ are anticipated on a scale that has not occurred for millions of years. In this context it is vital that we establish the rate and degree of present environmental change and set that against similar fundamental changes in the past. To this end, the concept of an Anthropocene Epoch of geological time, first conceptualised by the Nobel winning scientist Paul Crutzen, forms an excellent and readily accessible medium for assessing the degree of environmental change caused by humans.

History

Citation

Open University Geological Society Journal Volume 30 Number 2 Symposium Edition 2009

Published in

Open University Geological Society Journal

Volume

30

Issue

2

Pagination

31 - 34

issn

0143-9472

Copyright date

2009

Language

en

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