Heat Wave of the Millennium

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Heat Wave of the Millennium

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As the planet gets warmer, various places are setting temperature records. A new analysis of climate history suggests that's not all. Higher temperatures are more widespread now than they have been in 1200 years.

The last time a considerable swath of Earth heated up was about 1000 years ago. A rise in temperature allowed forests to expand across Russia and thawed out Greenland enough for Vikings to settle. Scientists infer these kinds of climate changes from tree rings, isotope ratios in ice cores or seashells, and other records that depend on temperature. To calibrate these temperature "proxies," climatologists compare them to thermometer measurements that go back 150 years. They then combine proxy temperatures from several sites to infer an average global or regional temperature, giving some proxies more weight because they show a stronger relation to temperature.

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Thousand years is a long time.
By YCON: posted on 13-2-2006

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