Environment

Global Shift in the 1980’s Left Planet Altered

Earth underwent an unprecedented global ecological and climate shift late in the 1980s, which a new report says was triggered by a combination of manmade global warming and a powerful volcanic eruption.

Researchers from the U.K. and Switzerland write in the journal Global Change Biology that they found the shift throughout nature, from the upper atmosphere to the depth of the oceans.

The shift was manifest in atmospheric and ocean temperatures, the pH levels of rivers, the timing of land events, behaviour of plants and birds, wind speeds and the amount of ice and snow, according to the report.

The study found that the shift appeared to have moved regionally around the world from west to east, starting with South America in 1984, then moving through North America in 1985, the North Atlantic in 1986, Europe in 1987 and Asia in 1988.

The researchers say the shift was sparked by the 1982 eruption of Mexico’s El Chichón volcano, interacting with climate change to cause the biggest ecological change in 1 000 years.

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