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Earth Hurtling Towards Temperatures Not Seen in 11,000 Years

New study shows global temperatures skyrocketed in last century

- Andrea Germanos, staff writer

Smoke from a bushfire in Tasmania is seen across the sky, Jan. 2013. (Photo: Kim / flickr)"Under all plausible greenhouse gas emission scenarios," the world is on track to surpass temperatures not seen since the dawn of civilization, according to new research.

Confirming "unprecedented" global warming, the new study published in Friday's issue of the journal Science shows that the earth's temperatures catapulted in just the last century at a rate that had previously taken 4,000 years.

"In 100 years, we've gone from the cold end of the spectrum to the warm end of the spectrum," said climatologist Shaun Marcott, lead author of the study. "We've never seen something this rapid. Even in the ice age the global temperature never changed this quickly."

Marcott said that current "global temperatures are warmer than about 75 percent of anything we've seen over the last 11,000 years or so." By 2100, he said, global temperatures will be "well above anything we've ever seen in the last 11,000 years."

"The climate changes to come are going to be larger than anything that human civilization and agriculture has seen in its entire existence," NPR quotes Gavin Schmidt, a climate researcher at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, as saying. "And that is quite a sobering thought."

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