Native Village 
Youth and Education News

April 1, 2013

Study Shows Mother Earth Heading Toward Highest Temperatures in Human History by End Century
Condensed by Native Village

After studying 11,300 years of earth's climate, scientist say that today's temperatures are higher than they've been for 70%-80% of that time.  Greenhouse gases and temperatures are skyrocketing. They will reach epic proportions by the year 2100.

Shaun Marcott from Oregon State University headed a team of scientists from OSU and Harvard University. They studied data from 73 world sites to gauge Earth’s temperature from the end of the last Ice Age. The Holocene Age  --the Age we live in today -- began when the great ice sheets of northern Turtle Island and Europe receded.

Most studies don't go back more than 2,000 years, Marcott said.  The new study has a longer time frame that gives today's climate change issues some context.

What they found may well heat up the climate change debate.

Earth cooled about 1.3° Fahrenheit for most of the past 5,000 years
It has warmed back up by 1.3°F in the last 100 years.

The bigger the land masses and larger the populations, the warmer it got -- as in the Northern Hemisphere.

Climate change models predict temps to increase 2.0° - 11.5°  by the year 2099 ... significantly greater than at any time during the past 11,300 years."
 Peter Clark, OSU paleoclimatologist.

“We already knew that on a global scale, Earth is warmer today than it was over much of the past 2,000 years,” Marcott said. “Now we know that it is warmer than most of the past 11,300 years. This is of particular interest, because the Holocene spans the entire period of human civilization."

Breaching Holocene Age's temperatures would be a first, scientists said.  Although 2000–2009 was one of the warmest on record, temperatures have been lower for the Age overall. But no more.

In addition,
it’s abnormal because it's happening too quickly, said Candace Major from the National Science Foundation’s Division of Ocean Sciences.

The last century stands out as the anomaly in this record of global temperature since the end of the last ice age,” said Major. “This research shows that we’ve experienced almost the same range of temperature change since the beginning of the industrial revolution as over the previous 1,000 years of Earth history—but this change happened a lot more quickly.”

The study was funded by the National Science Foundation’s Paleoclimate Program, and published in the March 8 issue of the journal Science.

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