Over the last two millennia, the climate on Earth has vastly changed. Thanks to paintings from our ancestors who lived during the Little Ice Age, scientists have been able to determine what our planet looked like at that time. Now they have documented a new 2000-year-old climate record. Scientists haven’t found any climate event that can compare to the global warming Earth is facing today.
An international team of scientists led by Raphael Neukom at the Oeschger Center for Climate Change Research at the University of Bern studied climate fluctuations and published their results in the journals Nature and Nature Geoscience. Their findings suggest that no climate event can compare to today in the 2000-year-old climate record they created.
“It’s true that during the Little Ice Age it was generally colder across the whole world, but not everywhere at the same time,” Neukom said in a statement. “The peak periods of pre-industrial warm and cold periods occurred at different times in different places.”
The scientists compiled a large database of 700 proxy records consisting of historical temperatures. They’ve included different objects in the study, such as trees, ice, sediment, corals, cave deposits and documentary evidence. The researchers then created a climate record that goes back to the times of the Roman Empire.
The new findings were derived using a set of statistical techniques and provide a clear historical context as to why climate change is real, so people who believe it’s not will see actual data that shows how much has Earth changed.
Scientists have widely accepted that events like the Little Ice Age took place simultaneously across the globe. However, a new study found that it didn’t happen simultaneously, but at different times, different locations, and on less than half of the planet.
“The minimum and maximum temperatures were different in different areas,” Neukom said.
The 2000-year-old climate record shows that the coldest mini ice age occurred in the eastern and central Pacific Ocean during the fifteenth century. However, the mini ice age in Europe and southeastern North America experienced it with a 200-year latency.
The paper shows that even during the Medieval Warm Period, peak temperatures covered only about 40% of Earth’s surface. These climate changes induced by nature have vastly changed during the industrial era. Scientists found that since the Industrial Revolution, Earth has entered its warmest period ever. Moreover, not only is this period considered the warmest in the last 2,000 years, but the climate change affects nearly every part of Earth, at about 98% of the globe.