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Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

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Thursday, March 07, 2013

 
New data shows the climate change hockey stick is sharper than we thought

by David Atkins

Mother Jones has some scary news about the exponential rate of climate change. Remember the old hockey stick graph from An Inconvenient Truth? Well, it's getting sharper.

Here are the details:

Back in 1999 Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann released the climate change movement's most potent symbol: The "hockey stick," a line graph of global temperature over the last 1,500 years that shows an unmistakable, massive uptick in the twentieth century when humans began to dump large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. It's among the most compelling bits of proof out there that human beings are behind global warming, and as such has become a target on Mann's back for climate denialists looking to draw a bead on scientists.

Today, it's getting a makeover: A study published in Science reconstructs global temperatures further back than ever beforeā€”a full 11,300 years. The new analysis finds that the only problem with Mann's hockey stick was that its handle was about 9,000 years too short. The rate of warming over the last hundred years hasn't been seen for as far back as the advent of agriculture.
Here's the old graph going back only 2000 years:



And here's the new graph going back 10,000 years:



The upshot here? Yes, temperatures have been higher in the past. But the rate of change was very gradual, allowing time for species to migrate and adapt. Our current rate of change is sharply and dangerously abrupt. Worse, it has an exponential curve.

It proves two things: first, there is no way the current climate change is in any way a natural event. It's caused by human action. Second, it has terrifying implications for the ability of life on earth to adapt to it.


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