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Earth Science

Global Temperatures Are Close To 11,000-Year Peak 416

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-it-was-cold-yesterday dept.
ananyo writes "Global average temperatures are now higher than they have been for about 75% of the past 11,300 years, a study published in Science suggests. Researchers have reconstructed global climate trends all the way back to when the Northern Hemisphere was emerging from the most recent ice age. They looked at 73 overlapping temperature records including sediment cores drilled from lake bottoms and sea floors around the world, and ice cores collected in Antarctica and Greenland. For some records, the researchers inferred past temperatures from the ratio of magnesium and calcium ions in the shells of microscopic creatures that had died and dropped to the ocean floor; for others, they measured the lengths of long-chain organic molecules called alkenones that were trapped in the sediments. From the first decade of the twentieth century to now, global average temperatures rose from near their coldest point since the ice age to nearly their warmest, they report (abstract)."
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Global Temperatures Are Close To 11,000-Year Peak

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  • by helobugz (2849599) on Friday March 08, 2013 @02:11PM (#43118117)

    If only we could figure out how the cave men managed to make the earth cool off for the last ten millenia...

    • by mspohr (589790) on Friday March 08, 2013 @02:34PM (#43118423)

      They had a very limited ability to burn hydrocarbons.

      • by kenh (9056)

        Cow farts are the scourge of today, I guess the cavemen had to deal with Dinosaur farts "back in the day'...

    • They didn't. It was cool to begin with, and slowly warming up. Also, by 10000 BP, there were no cavemen anymore. Also, when there *were* cavemen, they were not the only ones living here. See, there weren't enough caves for all the people.
    • Less CO2.

      Taco Bell was a little less common, you see.
    • by Grayhand (2610049)

      If only we could figure out how the cave men managed to make the earth cool off for the last ten millenia...

      Not sure how they cooled the Earth but the discovery of beans and the resulting release of methane ended the last ice age.

  • We're at perihelion now, already where Earth is at its hottest. In a few hundred or thousand years they'll welcome global warming... if global warming hasn't killed everyone by then.

    We're at the worst possible place to add to the warming.

  • by History's Coming To (1059484) on Friday March 08, 2013 @02:15PM (#43118173) Journal
    These studies only show what they do because most of the world's scientists are funded by the anti-oil lobby, who have so much money that the oil industry find it difficult to compete. Imagine if you were on an environmental archaeologist's research salary - that's got to be in the tens of thousands of dollars a year, why on earth would you accept the measly hundreds of thousands of dollars that the oil industry can afford to pay their researchers?

    (That's sarcasm, by the way.)
    • by 0123456 (636235)

      Why would the oil industry be opposed to a scare that's mostly been used to close down coal mining?

      • by History's Coming To (1059484) on Friday March 08, 2013 @02:23PM (#43118279) Journal
        Because demand for oil will drop as we switch to non-fossil fuels like fission, fusion or (heaven forbid) wind/wave/tidal/solar? Because they have to keep the shareholders happy, which isn't necessarily correlated with any kind of foresight or long-term common sense? Because it's all about money, rather than preserving the environment which makes the concept of money possible? I don't know, I'm as mystified as you.
    • by ByOhTek (1181381)

      because obviously the man-made climate change crowd is stupid, and therefore they don't realize that hundreds of thousands of dollars per year are better than tens of thousands of dollars per year, and don't realize they could be doing better!

      And if they they aren't smart enough for this simple math, how can we ever trust them with the more complex math required to analyze their data?

      (also sarcasm)

    • by ilguido (1704434)
      Well, but the oil lobby never lobbied to sell their oil, they do not need to. They actually lobby to get more oil/gas and to leave less oil/gas to the competition (e.g. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya wars etc.). Heck, more funds for green power companies means less competition in the oil extraction business, so the only guys who are screwed by this situation are those from the nuclear power lobby. Those cannot compete with the oil and green lobbies.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It didn't take a vast money machine to convince millions of young people to tattoo and pierce themselves in weird places. It doesn't take a vast money machine to convince everybody in academia that AGW is fact.

      In both cases, all it takes is peer pressure.

      Just because corporations prefer to use big money campaigns as their tool, doesn't mean it's the only tool required to instill a mass belief or activity.

      Now, I'm not saying that AGW is or isn't real. The debate over the GW part is pretty much over. It's

      • by Chris Burke (6130)

        There are probably literally a handfull of people who actually have opinions formed on science. They're sitting in universities looking at models run on supercomputers. Everybody else is using these people as priests, even if they didn't ask to be priests.

        And for those of us who want to form our opinions based on science, but aren't climatologists, looking to the people who are and actually do study and understand climate science and asking them is wrong... how exactly?

        For any other non-controversial field of science, this wouldn't be controversial either. Nobody says we're treating particle physicists like "priests" when we go with their best working picture of the microscopic universe with the understanding that this picture may change. How is that like

        • Nobody says we're treating particle physicists like "priests"

          Whilst I agree with your comment in general, you're about a week behind the times [guardian.co.uk] on that one.

  • Scary and scarier (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dcmcilrath (2859893)
    First reaction: How are people still denying this???
    Second reaction: We are so screwed

    After spending a significant amount of time studying the data and politics surrounding this issue, I concluded that global warming is a baked cake at this point (no pun intended) The US contains a little over 4.5% of the worlds population says Google [google.com] yet we are responsible for the majority of world emissions. Now consider that we are trying to cut back, meanwhile China is rapidly industrializing, increasing its footpr

    • Other statistics say that contributions to the problem come from many places, including container ships that blast spend kerosene into the sky, unbridled. The oxymoron of "clean coal" and its dirtier real coal burning adds, too. The hole in the ozone layer has narrowed because we cared enough about halogen release that it's narrowed, at least as a by-product if not a direct result of active human conservation.

      MPG gets better and lowered emissions as a byproduct, but the outlook is still abysmal. Buy inland

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Now consider that we are trying to cut back, meanwhile China is rapidly industrializing, increasing its footprint with every passing day. When you think of the footprint China will have when it is as industrialized as the USA, any hope of avoiding serious global damage is tiny at this point.

      With any luck they do not have a strong "green" movement that opposes nuclear.

      When the hippies start saying that we must go nuclear to avoid global warming I will know that they at least believe in it themselves, until then they just look at it as a political argument.

      • With any luck they do not have a strong "green" movement that opposes nuclear.

        Wind and solar is cheaper than nuclear, so what exactly is your point?

    • Re:Scary and scarier (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 08, 2013 @02:40PM (#43118507)

      The US is highest per capita, yes, but China holds the majority in total emissions. [wikipedia.org] And those are 2011 numbers, they've had a whole year to up the ante(note from 2010-2011, the US went down a little bit, China went up 17%). Think where the world will be when China surpasses us per capita.

      captcha: equality

    • Re:Scary and scarier (Score:4, Informative)

      by alexander_686 (957440) on Friday March 08, 2013 @02:42PM (#43118523)

      I don’t think the US is the #1 greenhouse gas emitter. IRC
                Canada and Australia are higher per person then the USA, having a lot of extractive industries.
                China admits more than the US, having a higher population and a greater reliance on inefficient coal for energy.
                India has the fastest growth.

      (Not trying to diminish your concerns, just adding facts.)

    • by narcc (412956) on Friday March 08, 2013 @02:51PM (#43118667) Journal

      First reaction: How are people still denying this???

      If I had to guess, it's probably a reaction to the ridiculous alarmist end-times rhetoric from the less competent believers.

      For example, one user posted:

      Second reaction: We are so screwed

      Followed by some thinly-veiled xenophobia.

      Can you blame them for wanting to distance themselves from that kind of crazy?

    • When you think of the footprint China will have when it is as industrialized as the USA, any hope of avoiding serious global damage is tiny at this point.

      If I were to be wildly optimistic, I'd suggest that there's a non-zero chance the leadership in China will realize that investing in renewables and/or nuclear energy is the smart way to go in the medium and especially long term, and that climate change will threaten their stability.

      Realistically, I think if climate change threatens the US and China much, they'll simply inject iron into the ocean [wikipedia.org] without bothering to determine the long-term consequences of that action. Presumably their plan for dealing w

  • This is good news (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gr8_phk (621180) on Friday March 08, 2013 @02:20PM (#43118237)

    From the first decade of the twentieth century to now, global average temperatures rose from near their coldest point since the ice age to nearly their warmest

    We're preventing the temperature decline that would lead us into the next glaciation. And like another poster mentioned, we're still in an "ice age" but we're toward the end of one of the interglacial periods. If we heat things up enough maybe we can get out of the ice age altogether. ;-)

  • Burn baby burn.

  • by scarboni888 (1122993) on Friday March 08, 2013 @02:24PM (#43118289)

    As a Canadian I completely support the global warming movement and am always glad to see reports like this showing its' progress.

    GO WARMING GO WARMING IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY, GO WARMING!!

    • by Grayhand (2610049)

      As a Canadian I completely support the global warming movement and am always glad to see reports like this showing its' progress.

      GO WARMING GO WARMING IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY, GO WARMING!!

      So beer really does cause brain damage? That's more disturbing than global warming.

  • by onyxruby (118189) <{onyxruby} {at} {comcast.net}> on Friday March 08, 2013 @02:29PM (#43118361)

    Articles like this can be scaremongering with misleading titles for headline purposes. "Warmer than 75% of the last 11,000 years" means that is has been cooler than about 2700 of the last 11,000 years. This of course can turn around and bit you when your trying to do something for political gain instead of scientific gain. After all it's all too easy to point to something like this as proof that things aren't as bad as they have been in the past pre-industrial era.

    I'm not taking sides on this issue, what I'm arguing is that people need to let science do the talking and leave politics on the wayside. The result of failing to do so is that otherwise perfectly sound science research gets tainted by politics. More science and less politics please, that is all.

    • by dAzED1 (33635)
      you didn't mention at all that the article says it is warmer than 75% of the last 11,000 - marked since the last ice age. Well yeah, we're warmer than the last ice age. A large part of that chunk of time should be completely eliminated for, well, being ice-age. But maybe I'm just an oil-industry shill; after all, my house is solar powered, and I refuse to own a car...
    • by Grayhand (2610049)
      Both sides like to cherry pick but I can tell you what 51 years of personal observations have taught me. I've never seen weather like we've been having in my entire life and I mean the last decade plus. The arctic is melting and the Native Americans there have an oral history going back thousands of years and they've never seen anything like the melt they are seeing. Remember the search for the northwest passage? We now call that summer in the arctic. Once in a 100 year storms seem to happen every three yea
  • Title vs summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 08, 2013 @02:30PM (#43118381)

    Title: Global Temperatures Are Close To 11,000-Year Peak

    Actual first line: Global average temperatures are now higher than they have been for about 75% of the past 11,300 years

    Some peak - it's barely in the first quartile.

  • Yeah when we discuss global warming I think it is a great idea to ignore the fact that the Earth was much warmer before the Ice Ages. Yeah we can all agree there was some event that helped put the earth into an Ice Age but why hasn't anyone ever asked if It was warmer here before the Ice Age wouldn't it be almost natural to expect the Earth to gradually return to what it was before the event before man was here to supposedly create a problem we refer to as "global warming". Almost like a spinning top a slig
    • The big problem with this is that we're warming up while we should be going into another ice age.

    • by dave420 (699308)
      Your ignorance of this subject is simply staggering. I beg you, as one sentient human being to another - research the various effects on the global climate (of which this cycle is just one), and see the correlation (or lack thereof) to global temperature. It's not as clear-cut as you seem to think it is. Hint: If you think you can debunk a well-established branch of science in a one-paragraph post to Slashdot, you're most likely wrong.
  • by wanfuse123 (2860713) on Friday March 08, 2013 @02:35PM (#43118443)
    Convert all coal fire plants to LFTR Nuclear reactors. It will end up being as cheap as coal, even cheaper in the long run when you account for longevity of the converted plants which will increase the age from 25 years to 80 years. Stop worrying so much about feeling bad over whether its man mad or not, really who cares, the fact is as a species we should care about what makes our species have the most prosperous environment to live in. Forget for a moment about every other species on the planet. Let's be selfish, worry about us. Convert the plants to LFTR reactors get 1000 years of the most power dense, low waste solution while we have it available. Doesn't pollute large areas of land (one mountain pass has enough Thorium to last us 1000 years at 100% of US consumption for everything...every last Watt we use! Has less than .01 % waste that only lasts for 300 years and it consumes the long term waste at the same time. The power density of Thorium is a 1,000,000 ...thats 1 million times the power density of coal. It has none of the draw backs of other alternate energies and the nuclear reactors made with liquid salts can NOT melt down...That is no Fukushima, NO Chernobyl No Three Mile Island. IT is in no way possible with these reactors. It is a clean solution and doesn't pollute and like other alternative energies it works 24 hours a day. I have even worked out a method to pay for it, that only has a 1 year investment associated with it. COAL to LFTR [rawcell.com]
    • Sides who won't be happy: The coal industry, anti-nuclear nuts, NIMBYs.

    • by dbIII (701233)
      What a splendid example of the triumph of advertising over education.
      Didn't you people know that PR agencies lie for a living?
  • by pubwvj (1045960) on Friday March 08, 2013 @02:39PM (#43118497)

    Well, that is wonderful news since about that long ago was the 'end' of the last ice age when temperatures were so low we were having massive die offs due to the cold climate.

    Warming is good for life. You might not be acclimated to it but the reality is when we have periods of cooling we have die offs and when we have periods of warming there is an expansion of species, of biodiversity. The Earth has been much warmer in the past and that was good for life.

    I welcome warmer temperatures. It has been too cold in the last thousands of years.

    All this fussing about warming is ignoring the real problem. Global Warming is just a distraction from the real issue of toxic pollution.

    • by quantaman (517394)

      Of course, since gradual warming over centuries or millennia in the past was good for life in the past it makes sense that rapid warming over decades would be just as good now (though humans will have to acclimate to some floods and famine).

  • Great news. We have an 11,000 year solar cycle then, right?

  • This (Score:3, Informative)

    by Sparticus789 (2625955) on Friday March 08, 2013 @02:57PM (#43118747) Journal

    As with all "global warming" topics, I can divide the opinions based on their mod points:
    [-1,1] = "global warming is a farce"
    [2,5] = "global warming is supported by a majority of scientists, debate over, hand over the keys to your SUV"

  • I'm so sick of snow.

  • Yes, the planet is heating up, time to figure out what to do next.

    All this bullshit about blaming us for warming up the planet. Whether we have directly done this, or some natural occurring change has happened, its irrelevant.

    Bottom line is, yes lets stop living as an excessive society. If we can make technology that don't pump pollutants or excessive CO2 into the atmosphere then lets do it. Don't do it to "Save the Planet" do it because it its just about being state-of-the art. Like, how about we stop

  • "Global average temperatures are now higher than they have been for about 75% of the past 11,300 years"

    Good?

    I thought we were all burning to a crisp in completely unprecedented temperatures in human history. 75th percentile doesn't frighten me. The assumption of 100th percentile at the end of the century hardly seems terrifying either.

  • by kenh (9056)

    Cooler than it has been 25% of the time the past 11,000 years.

  • 1) Cherry-picked data alert: when someone picks a data set of "11300 years" it suggests Cherry-Picking. Why not 10k, 20k, 50k years? Does that not 'fit' the message?

    2) from the article:
    "...After the ice age, they found, global average temperatures rose until they reached a plateau between 7550 and 3550 bc. Then a long-term cooling trend set in, reaching its lowest temperature extreme between ad 1450 and 1850...."
    So let's see, after an ice age it warmed, then it reached a "low temp extreme" and now it's hi

    • Hm, almost like it's cyclic.

      You might be on to something here....

    • by pk001i (649678) on Friday March 08, 2013 @03:53PM (#43119483)
      1) Why would an 11,300 year data set imply cherry picking? Because it is not a round enough number for you? Perhaps this temperature record is based on foraminifera. Perhaps those are obtained through gravity or piston coring. Perhaps in regions where you need a high enough sedimentation rate to resolve temperatures at 200-400 year intervals, you can only recover 11,300 years. I have only briefly read the article, but it is likely that before 11,300 years, they did not have the time resolution to accurately resolve the temperature prior to this point. This is a data resolution issue, not an "i'm hiding the truths from you" issue.

      2) It is the rate of those changes that the authors are highlighting. Absolute temperatures aren't that telling (it has been both much colder and much warmer on earth at various times in history). If the current rate of temperature change had previously occurred in the past 11,300 years (i.e. was driven by natural sources) then they would have seen some indication of it. It would not have been as pronounced as the current trend, due to lower temporal resolution (which acts as a low pass filter), but it still would have appeared.

      I don't think anyone is arguing that there are not climate cycles (see Milankovish, also, straw man). But you are comparing events that are happening on much different time scales. Prior to 100 years ago, the temperature had been falling for ~5000 years. In the past 100 years, the temperature has risen to what it was 5000 years ago. Clearly whatever cycle was occurring on a 10000 year period is not the same cycle that we are dealing with now.

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