A recent study has revealed that the Earth is warming, at a rate never before recorded in 24,000 years of its history, by humans, exactly since the last Ice Age. The finding, described in an article in the journal Nature on November 10, happens while world leaders are discussing at COP-26 measures to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases and thus avoid heading towards a climate catastrophe.
According to the authors of the research, unimaginable temperatures take-off within the gradual evolution of heat began 150 years ago and it has been exacerbated by greenhouse gases and the melting of polar ice.
“The fact that we are so far outside the limits of what we might consider normal today is cause for alarm,” said Matthew Osman, lead author of the article, in a University of Arizona news release.
The finding was possible after developing a global heat map that contained 539 records of paleoclimates (ancient climates). These comprised a span of at least 4,000 years each.
To reconstruct remote temperatures, the team explored the geochemical compounds of marine sediments at the time. In those minerals, they discovered what were the circumstances of the ancient ecosystems, such as the temperature of the environment. The information was then released into climate simulations that filled the temporary gaps of which there is no record in that interim.
“We are excited about applying this method to older climates that are warmer than today because those periods are fundamentally windows into our future as greenhouse gas emissions increase,” explains Jessica Tierney, a co-author of the research.
For now, the team will seek to apply this research approach to older climates that were warmer than today, such as in ancient Earth extinctions.
According to Tierney, the reason for comparing our present with the climate past is due “because these times are essentially windows into our future as greenhouse gas emissions increase.”
The study reinforces the conclusions of the latest report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which concluded that the burning of fossil fuels has accelerated global warming in the last two millennia.