Global warming: it's a heated debate, but a recent report suggests that temperatures here on Earth have been the highest they've ever been in 4,000 years. Plus, it's predicted that over the next few decades, temperatures are likely to surpass levels not seen on Earth since before the last ice age occurred.
The study was led by Oregon State University paleoclimatologist Shaun Marcott, who gathered various data and formed a climate reconstruction containing the past 12,000 years, which is an era known as the Holocene, and it's considered the modern geological era that included the rapid rise of human civilization around 8,000 years ago, which is considered to be a big factor in the rise of global warming.
However, what's most impressive with this particular study is the fact that no other climate study has even come close to analyzing the last 12,000 years. In fact, no other study has broken the 2,000 year barrier. The report says that global temperatures rose gradually until around 6,000 years ago, when a gradual cooling phase started and lasted for about 5,000 years. However, that ended around 200 years, when temperatures began to rise and they haven't stopped since.
While it's difficult to know what exactly the climate was 12,000 years ago, since human civilization wasn't really much a thing yet, scientists and researchers can use a variety of things that contain both physical and chemical signatures, such as ice cores, cave formations, and coral reefs. These give researchers a good idea at what the climate was like back then.
[via The New York Times]