Professor Gavin Foster, who took part in the study, said: “The reason we don’t see Pliocene-like temperatures and sea-levels yet today is because it takes a while for Earth’s climate to fully equilibrate (catch up) to higher CO2 levels and, because of human emissions, CO2 levels are still climbing.

“Our results give us an idea of what is likely in store once the system reached equilibrium.”

According to Dr de la Vega, once the planet surpasses the Pliocene CO2 levels, future levels will likely be higher than anything experienced in the last 15 million years.

Such levels were not seen since the Middle Miocene Climatic Optimum when the planet was even warmer than the Pliocene.



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