Unprecedented warming

WGLogo2kNetworkTwo new PAGES 2k Network papers, published today in Nature and Nature Geoscience, examine temperature trends over the past two millennia and show that recent warming events are unmatched in the past 2,000 years.

The studies, led by Raphael Neukom, find that the rate and spatial consistency of recent warming is extraordinary in the last 2,000 years and cannot be explained by natural factors alone. During the pre-industrial period, volcanic eruptions were the key driver of global temperature fluctuations.

In "No evidence for globally coherent warm and cold periods over the pre-industrial Common Era", published in Nature, authors find that previously named climate epochs of the Common Era were not globally coherent phenomena. This is in contrast to the contemporary anthropogenic warming which we do find is globally coherent to an extent that hasn’t happened in the past 2,000 years.

In "Consistent multidecadal variability in global temperature reconstructions and simulations over the Common Era", published in Nature Geoscience, authors show the most rapid warming of the past 2,000 years occurred during the second half of the 20th century - highlighting the extraordinary character of current climate change, due mostly to human emissions of heat-trapping gases.

Both studies used the PAGES 2k Network temperature database to generate new datasets of global temperature reconstructions over the past 2000 years using six different reconstruction methods. It is the first time that so many different methods are used in a coordinated way to quantify past global temperatures and their uncertainties.

Access the Nature paper and additional information, such as press releases, FAQs and a video about the findings, here.

Access the Nature Geoscience paper and additional informationsuch as press releases, FAQs and a video about the findings, here.

Find out more about the 2k Network here.