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CO2 levels now higher than any time in the last 23 million years

One of the most pressing messages that climate scientists attempt to convey to the public is how today’s CO2 levels compare to those of the Geologic past. Such comparisons can provide public context for current CO2 rise, as well as important information on the response of global temperatures to rising CO2. A new study published in Geology suggests that present-day CO2 levels (412 ppmv) are now likely higher than at any time in at least the last 23 million years!

In this newly published study, a team led by Brian Schubert, Associate Professor in the School of Geosciences at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, used the remains of dead plants to produce a new record of atmospheric CO2 that spans 23 million years of uninterrupted Earth history. Their findings relied on the nearly continuous record of terrestrial photosynthesis provided by organic matter accumulated from partially decomposed plants.

“When plants grow, the relative amount of the two stable isotopes of carbon, carbon-12 and carbon-13, changes in response to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere,” says Schubert. “One can therefore measure the relative amount of these two isotopes and calculate the CO2 concentration under which the plants grew.”

The remains of land plants can be used to calculate the amount of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere. Photo credit: A. Hope Jahren

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Two Graduate Students win the GSA Graduate Research Grant

Please join us in congratulating two of our graduate students who recently won a GSA Graduate Research Grant for 202

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The School of Geosciences wins prestigious Field Camp Award

As our 2020 virtual field camp is kicking off today, our School has just been informed that we are this year's recip

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In the last few years, Dr. Davide Oppo took part in a project to build local content at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Tanzania. While working at the University of Aberdeen (UK), Dr. Oppo spent about half the year in Africa as a fully integrated academic member of UDSM.

The final goal was to develop a capacity-building initiative to improve the quality of UDSM courses in Petroleum Geosciences by training both local students and less experienced faculty.

This challenging and new approach to capacity building produced incredible rewards for all the involved parties. On one side, UDSM was exposed to different teaching styles and course organization that will be treasured in the upcoming years. On the other side, Dr. Oppo gained a life experience and sharpened his multicultural teaching skills.

We have recently published the story and idea behind this project in an article on GEOExPRO Magazine

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