Scientists used a clever technique to pin down the temperature a thousand years ago during the medieval warm period. The results are both fascinating and a little depressing:
Current TV— The study showed that summertime temperatures on Svalbard were higher now than at any time in the past 1,800 years, including in the Medieval Warm Period from 950 to 1200, scientists wrote in the journal Geology. Summer temperatures were 2 to 2.5 degrees Celsius higher since 1987 than during the Medieval Warm Period, lead author William D’Andrea, a climate scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, told Reuters.
People sceptical that mankind is the main cause of global warming sometimes point to the Medieval spike in temperatures as evidence that natural variations can bring large climate swings, Columbia wrote in a statement.
“The warming of the past 25 years or so is more than in this record for the Medieval period,” D’Andrea said. The Medieval warming has been linked to shifts in solar output and volcanic eruptions. “It has been pretty well established…that the modern warming is largely due to human contributions of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere,” D’Andrea added.
Two degrees Celsius is a metric shitload. A few years ago I honestly figured climate change wouldn’t seriously disrupt the earth and its fragile network-dependent society on which I depend during my lifetime. Now I just don’t know. The effects seem to be accelerating. Given the usual time scales as opposed to the last decade, it almost seems as though change is now racing wildly out of control. We could be hitting any of a dozen major tipping points today, right now, somewhere, for all I know.