Global warming rates are the fastest seen since the dawn of civilization, according to a new study. Researchers discovered that global warming has caused Earth’s climate to go from one of its coldest decades since the last ice age to one of the hottest.
Climatologist Shaun Marcott stated that a heat spike like the one we are experiencing currently has never happened before — at least not in the last 11,300 years.
The Earth was cold at the turn of the 20th century. The first decade was colder than 95 percent of the last 11,300 years. But the turn of the 21st century saw a decade hotter than about 75 percent of the last 11,300 years.
The joint study by Oregon State University and Harvard University suggests that, if not for man-made influences, the Earth would currently be in a cold phase.
The study’s findings were based on a global reconstruction of temperature records. They were taken from ice cores, fossils in ocean sediments, and other sources. Previous studies have reached a similar conclusion, though they only went back about 2,000 years.
The rise in temperature is correlated to the burning of fossil fuels. as the burning ratcheted up, the global temperature began to rise by 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit. Marcott explained that the rise “is unprecedented compared to what we are showing in our reconstruction.”
Marcott and his colleagues believe that, given the current rate of global warming, the planet will be warmer 100 years from now than it has been at any point since at least the last ice age. Marcott added, “If you were to predict — based on where we are relative to the position of the sun and how we are tilted — you would predict that we would be still cooling, but we’re not.”
The Earth’s overall temperature was cooling over the past 4,000 years, until the turn of the 20th century. The rise predicted in the next hundred years is between two and 11.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
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