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Study: Earth Is At Its Warmest In 120,000 Years (washingtonpost.com) 221

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Washington Post: As part of her doctoral dissertation at Stanford University, Carolyn Snyder, now a climate policy official at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, created a continuous 2 million year temperature record, much longer than a previous 22,000 year record. Snyder's temperature reconstruction, published Monday in the journal Nature, doesn't estimate temperature for a single year, but averages 5,000-year time periods going back a couple million years. Snyder based her reconstruction on 61 different sea surface temperature proxies from across the globe, such as ratios between magnesium and calcium, species makeup and acidity. But the further the study goes back in time, especially after half a million years, the fewer of those proxies are available, making the estimates less certain, she said. These are rough estimates with large margins of errors, she said. But she also found that the temperature changes correlated well to carbon dioxide levels. Temperatures averaged out over the most recent 5,000 years -- which includes the last 125 years or so of industrial emissions of heat-trapping gases -- are generally warmer than they have been since about 120,000 years ago or so, Snyder found. And two interglacial time periods, the one 120,000 years ago and another just about 2 million years ago, were the warmest Snyder tracked. They were about 3.6 degrees (2 degrees Celsius) warmer than the current 5,000-year average. Snyder said if climate factors are the same as in the past -- and that's a big if -- Earth is already committed to another 7 degrees or so (about 4 degrees Celsius) of warming over the next few thousand years. "This is based on what happened in the past, Snyder noted. "In the past it wasn't humans messing with the atmosphere."
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Study: Earth Is At Its Warmest In 120,000 Years

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  • 120,000 years ago women weren't allowed to make studies like this. Progress!
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2016 @05:45AM (#52968361)

    Both sides already "know" they're right, and no argument whatsoever could change that. Why bother continuing?

  • The is unpossible. The earth is only 6.000 years old.
    Or: That means that it used to be warmer once, so it can't be caused by humans.

    People are so much in denial because they are either don't believe how small the earth actually is compared to thousands of years of stored energy being released at once; they are afraid about the consequenses if it is true, so they put their head in the sand like an 8 year who stole a cookie or they have no idea how e.g. the heating and airconditioning of their condo works.

    If

  • My issue is not with the science that reports human activity is warming the planet, it's with the POLITICS surrounding it, and discussions about what should be done. From what I've read, all of the current initiatives, regulation, etc will not do squat to change the situation in anything under 200 years and even then it's marginal at best. The only real solutions seem to imply (or say rather directly) that world GDP would need to be rolled back significantly. I simply don't see that happening. With all tha
  • As long as this destroys humans - I'm all for it.

  • So, does that mean that 120,001 years ago it was hotter than now?
  • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Tuesday September 27, 2016 @09:14AM (#52969251) Journal

    There were vineyards in Scotland and diaries of vikings in Iceland tell of a land as warm as Europe. Orange trees were grown in parts of temperate China and northern Italy.

    When it came to an end it started the little ice age which called all of the above to this day never recovered.

    • When it came to an end it started the little ice age which called all of the above to this day never recovered.

      The Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age were highly localized around the Atlantic. Europe may be at high risk for turning into Canada, but it's likely the rest of us will see far more subtle changes.

      I find the Medieval Warm Period instructive. Today there's lots of fear-mongering that Global Warming will ruin all arable land, when in fact the Warm Period was a huge boon.

      • Where do you get fear-mongering about ruining all arable land? It isn't from the scientists.

        There will be good things caused by global warming. There will be bad things. Overall, even if the increased temperature will be advantageous, the process of getting there is going to suck big-time.

        • It depends where?

          I had quite a life living in both Southern California and Alaska :-)

          So, so Cal it is bad for global warming as the mediterian climate turns desert for both agriculture and water for citizens and Citris farmers. However, in Alaska WAHOO! Farmers who left Oklahoma in the dust bowl in the 1930's have moved north of Anchorage to Palmer. In the old days the frost free season was only barely 90 days north of Fairbanks central Alaska. Talk about TOUHGH!

          Today it is more +120 days as 90 degree days

          • Alaska, Sweden, Russia, win in a warmer climate.

            If the thermohaline cycle stops, Europe turns into Canada, and Sweden and Russia will be in serious danger of turning into Greenland. Not a "win".

            Similarly, if the California Current slows or stops, Alaska and B.C. Canada will get far colder, while Washington, Oregon and Northern California warms up.

            It's an open question [latimes.com] whether California will get less or more rainfall from warming.

        • Where do you get fear-mongering about ruining all arable land?

          All over the place...

          "severe crop failures and livestock shortages worldwide."
          - http://www.livescience.com/370... [livescience.com]

          "average yields are predicted to decrease by 30â"46% before the end of the century under the slowest (B1) warming scenario and decrease by 63â"82% under the most rapid warming scenario"
          - http://www.pnas.org/content/10... [pnas.org]

          "most of the Western Hemisphere (along with large parts of Eurasia, Africa, and Australia) may be at threat

          • I repeat: where do you get fear-mongering about ruining all arable land? Your quotes say that there will be lots of serious agricultural problems worldwide, with significant shortfalls in production, but nothing close to "ruining all arable land". Hint: If you cite stuff, you may want to make sure it supports your position.

            As far as my reference to scientists go, they tend to stick to what they know, and they know a lot, so they're more reliable than any sort of journalist. I can find idiots who say

            • nothing close to "ruining all arable land".

              If you were expecting the foodpocalypse because you far too literally read one throwaway line, you're a complete idiot. That uncontrolled Aspergers is probably why you're on my lovely foes list. Yields down as low as 18% of their current levels would be incredibly devastating, and yes, a perfect and infallible scientist said that, so it's time to drop your hero worship.

              scientists go, they tend to stick to what they know, and they know a lot,

              Well, it sure is a good

              • You cite one example of a scientific article in which under certain extreme conditions a certain model includes an extreme of 82% loss in food production. I missed that in the typical Slashdot non-Unicode character soup. In that case, only 80% of your cites fail to support your claim, and 20% says that in extreme conditions your claim might be close to reality. I'm still not impressed.

                I don't know all scientists, I've met a few, and I've read stuff, including numerous scientific papers. They are def

                • 20% says that in extreme conditions your claim might be close to reality. I'm still not impressed.

                  I provided a citation that explicitly proves my statement and disproves yours, but that isn't good enough because I linked other stuff, too (and because you misread it on the first go-around)? Okay, I guess that makes sense... to someone... probably.

                  Don't worry. I can assure I don't have the slightest concern about your opinion on this or any other subject.

  • Here's why. None of it matters.

    Let's talk about analogies. Remember the Manhattan Project? Probably the most significant intervention of geeks in all history. Started off with some busybody physicists and a letter from Einstein. They were convinced that they were doing a good for all mankind by contributing to the destruction of the Nazi state.

    The problem was, Hitler was defeated before their bomb came to fruition. Then, some people started getting cold feet about the use of the device. Regretting th

To be a kind of moral Unix, he touched the hem of Nature's shift. -- Shelley

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