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Climate crisis: world is at its hottest for at least 12,000 years – study

Scientists say temperatures globally at highest level since start of human civilisation

The world’s continuously warming climate is revealed also in contemporary ice melt at glaciers, such as with this one in the Kenai mountains, Alaska (seen September 2019). Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The planet is hotter now than it has been for at least 12,000 years, a period spanning the entire development of human civilisation, according to research.

Analysis of ocean surface temperatures shows human-driven climate change has put the world in “uncharted territory”, the scientists say. The planet may even be at its warmest for 125,000 years, although data on that far back is less certain.

The research, published in the journal Nature, reached these conclusions by solving a longstanding puzzle known as the “Holocene temperature conundrum”. Climate models have indicated continuous warming since the last ice age ended 12,000 years ago and the Holocene period began. But temperature estimates derived from fossil shells showed a peak of warming 6,000 years ago and then a cooling, until the industrial revolution sent carbon emissions soaring. [continue]