Sunday, November 27, 2005

Global warming not all hot air

New artic ice core studies reveal CO2 at highest levels in 650,000 years, and six ice ages. We experience atmospheric CO2 levels of 27% higher than past peaks periods.

The European team's leader, Thomas Stocker, of the University of Bern, said the research showed that "the timescales on which humans have changed the composition of the atmosphere [are]extremely short compared to the natural time cycles of the climate system".

Carbon dioxide levels are now 380 parts per million, compared with previous peaks of below about 300 parts per million.

The ice core study, published in yesterday's issue of Science, confirmed that temperatures have been closely tied to greenhouse gas levels throughout this period in a way that climate modellers had predicted.

Three of the previous six interglacial periods were also found to have lasted nearly 30,000 years, much longer than the 10,000 years or more of recent interglacial periods. This meant, fortunately, that another ice age was not due for 15,000 years, the researchers said.

In other news new research shows that sea levels have been rising by 1mm per year to around 1850, after which they started rising by 2mm per year.

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