New evidence has found a virtually continuous warming Earth, from the end of the last Ice Age to the present day in the Ural Mountains in central Russia. This contradicts the current belief that the northern hemisphere temperatures had peaked 6,000 to 8,000 years ago and cooled until the pre-Industrial period.
The research, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows continual warming in continental Eurasia over the past 11,000 years. The researchers believe the contradiction came about because previous work likely focused on summer temperature trends and not the more sensitive winter temperature variations that were not available at the time.
The researchers used stalagmites from Kinderlinksaya Cave (about 750 miles east of Moscow in the southern Ural Mountains) to precisely date isotope temperature records and supports computer models for Eurasia that predicted continual warming.
It was also shown how the disappearing ice in the Arctic regions of North America controlled the warming trend as the Ice Age glaciers retreated.
With the rise of greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide and methane, the scientists say they were likely responsible for the continued warming in the Ural Mountains. Matthew Lachniet, a geoscientist who worked on the study, explained how the cave climate record has important implications for the future, saying in a statement:
“Because greenhouse gas concentrations are increasing at rates unprecedented for the past 800,000 years, human-caused warming will be superimposed on the ‘natural’ trend.”
Jonathan Baker, Geoscience Ph.D. student and who led the team, added that:
“Over the past century, winters in continental Eurasia warmed 70 times faster than during the previous 7,000 years, according to our record.
“At this pace, the warming will continue to pose severe and detrimental impacts throughout the region.”
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