Global climate change

The last decade was warmer than most of the last 11,000 years in North America and Europe

By Brett Anderson, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
2/01/2018, 12:48:39 PM

New research from the University of Wyoming has found that recent temperatures across Europe and North America have few, if any, precedenta over the past 11,000 years, according to the University of Wyoming news.

The study covers the period that goes back to the end of the ice age when the ice sheet still covered Canada.

The research team was able to reconstruct temperatures from fossil pollen collected from 642 lakes or ponds across North America and Europe.

“When we collect sediment from the bottom of the lake, we can recognize sequences of plants that grew in a given area based on the shape of the fossil pollen left behind," said Bryan Shuman, a professor at the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Wyoming. “Because different plants grow at different temperatures, we can constrain what the temperatures were in a given place at a certain time.” (from UW)

The team also noted that these reconstructions were good matches to climate simulations run by NCAR computer models.

The study results showed that the previous decade was actually 6.5 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than what it was 11,000 years ago.

In addition, the previous decade was at least 1/2 degree Fahrenheit warmer than the warmest periods of that 11,000-year time frame, even counting for uncertainties, according to the report.

“In the absence of people, the trend would have been cooling,” Shuman says. “It does show that what has happened in the last 30 years -- a warming trend -- puts us outside of all but the most extreme single years every 500 years since the Ice Age. The last 10 years have, on average, been as warm as a normal one year in 500 warm spell.”


This study was just published in the journal Nature.

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Global climate change