Yes, flat-earth theorists, there have been climate shifts before, and we have records going back to the days of the vikings; tree-rings, shell fossils, ice cores as well as diary records and temperature measurements from 14 locations on three continents. But the late 20th century has experienced the sharpest climate shift or all, hot or cold, for the period studied. The increase has been especially sharp in recent years, with all 10 of the warmest years on record occurring since the mid-1990s.
Put that in your flat earth theory and smoke it. What are the climatic effects of this warming?
Reporting their findings in the journal Science, Timothy Osborn and Keith Briffa, climatologists at the University of East Anglia, home to the leading British climate research centre, stop short of blaming the 20th-century warming on industrial emissions or other human factors.
But they say the geographic extent of the warming is more widespread and more pronounced than the one that turned Greenland green 1000 years ago.
Their analyses of tree ring and other climate "proxies" from Europe, Asia and North America show two other pronounced climate shifts during the same period: the Medieval Warm Period from 890 to 1170, and the Little Ice Age, which gripped the northern hemisphere from 1580 to 1850.
The warming has been linked to accelerated melting of mountain glaciers and polar ice sheets throughout the world, warmer sea
surface temperatures, the earlier arrival of spring in the northern hemisphere and other changes.
Many scientists predict the warming will increase if man-made releases of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are not curbed.
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