Peak temperatures during Earth’s present interglacial are cooler than during any interglacial of the past half million years

Posted: February 6, 2011 in global warming fraud, global warming hoax
Tags: ,

According to the mantra spouted by the global warming activists, the earth’s temperature has soared to unprecedented levels and the rate at which this condition has been achieved is also unprecedented.  All this is due, of course, to the evil West and our reliance on fossil fuels.  The burning of these fuels has increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere which is the reason we are all going to die in a greenhouse oven.  I think not.

There is little doubt that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere today are higher today than during any other period in the last half million years or so.  We live in an interglacial and thankfully so.  Life during an ice age would suck and it is probable that the rise of human civilization is due, almost entirely, to the start of the present (Holocene) interglacial.  It is very hard to farm under 3,000 feet of ice!

So what about past interglacials?  What were they like?  Is the present interglacial really extraordinary?  Are we living in an interglacial of unprecedented warmth?  The answer to these questions lies trapped in Antarctic ice.  Without going into the details of temperature reconstructions from ice core data it is worth noting that during the last half million years the Earth has gone through five interglacials and the data confirms that the previous four were all significantly warmer than the present (1, 2).  The “unprecedented” nature of the present interglacial is not the higher degree of heat but is instead, the lack thereof!

Most significantly, the previous interglacials were accompanied by atmospheric carbon dioxide levels at least 30 % lower than current levels!

This is a graph of proxy temperature anomalies derived from the Vostok ice core data set. Carbon dioxide levels today are 380 ppm. During each of the previous 4 interglacials carbon dioxide levels never exceeded 290 ppm yet temperatures were warmer than today.

1.  Petit, J.R., Jouzel, J., Raynaud, D., Barkov, N.I., Barnola, J.-M., Basile, I., Bender, M., Chappellaz, J., Davis, M.., Delaygue, G., Delmotte, M., Kotlyakov, V.M., Legrand, M., Lipenkov, V.Y., Lorius, C., Pepin, L., Ritz, C., Saltzman, E. and Stievenard, M. 1999. Climate and atmospheric history of the past 420,000 years from the Vostok ice core, Antarctica. Nature 399: 429-436.

2.  Sime, L.C., Wolff, E.W., Oliver, K.I.C. and Tindall, J.C. 2009. Evidence for warmer interglacials in East Antarctic ice cores. Nature 462: 342-345.

Jim Hatem

  1. Dan says:

    You should get a geology degree.

  2. ryan says:

    What this graph really points out is that most of the last half million years have been very cold. Interglacials are rare and should be welcomed.

  3. lausd_teacher says:

    You keep saying that we should enjoy the interglacial whileit lasts and now I understand why.

  4. c'monnow says:

    Q.E.D. Thank you.

  5. moeimer says:

    Combine this data with the research on the MWP and the case for AGW falls flat on its face.

  6. Ricky2 says:

    Of course this will get ignored by the global warming crowd.

  7. […] The current interglacial is a couple of degrees COOLER than previous interglacials. This shouldn’t be according to the green religion as they didn’t have SUVs then! However dingbat lefty journalists are finally admitting their celebrity eco elitists have ruined much of their credibility still cant get their small brains around what nature is really doing. […]

  8. notthesituation says:


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