The planet is hotter now than it has ever been in the last 12,000 years - and that is how long human civilization has existed. These are the results of a study by employees of Rutgers University (New Brunswick, USA), reports The Gardian.
To come to this conclusion, scientists had to solve the "Holocene temperature puzzle": it was previously believed that since the end of the last ice age 12,000 years, the temperature increased, but 6,000 years ago, during the Holocene, there was a peak of warming. These data were obtained from the study of fossil shells.
As the new study showed, an error was made when analyzing the data: it took into account the hot summer, the imprint of which was preserved by the shells, but the equally cold winters were skipped, so the average annual temperatures turned out to be deceptively high. A new study of fossil shells and algae found in ocean sediments showed that the cooling that followed a warm peak 6,000 years ago was deceiving. In fact, the average annual temperatures rose steadily.
It's also possible that the world could be hotter now than it has ever been in the last 125,000 years, when there was the last warm period between ice ages. However, there are few data pertaining to that time, and scientists cannot be completely sure of this version.
The researchers considered only data on ocean temperatures, but this indicator is the most reliable, because it is the sea surface temperature that has a decisive influence on the Earth's climate.
Given that the global average annual temperature has increased over the past 12,000 years, and the current anthropogenic warming is further accelerating this process, humanity is now in a completely unpredictable position.
The research is published in the journal Nature.