During most of the past 290 million years, Earth was much warmer than it is now. Between 200 and 45 million years ago polar ice caps were small or absent, and winters were warmer around the globe.
Many scientists think that high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere contributed to keeping the climate warm. Decreases in atmospheric carbon dioxide have been linked to ice ages over the past million years, when ice sheets periodically blanketed much of the Northern Hemisphere.
Scientists like Bert Drake, Scott Wing, and Phil Gingerich are studying the effects of carbon dioxide to help us explain the changes in our atmosphere.
Atmospheric Monitoring - Pat Neale
Pat Neale uses the SR-18 UV monitor to measure ultraviolet light reaching Earth’s surface.
Up in Smoke - Sarah Mims
Teenage science fair winner, Sarah Mims, showed that the atmosphere can transport microbes long distances.
Greenhouse Grasses - Bert Drake
Dr. Bert Drake has studied plants' abilities to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
A Pore Story - Scott Wing
Dr. Scott Wing used Ginkgo fossils to estimate the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere during Eocene.