Earth is experiencing an unprecedented warming period, according to a report published in the March 8 issue of Science Magazine. Researchers from Harvard University and Oregon State University studied 73 land-based and marine fossil and ice samples to construct a record of global surface temperatures for the last 11,300 years, concluding that today's temperatures are higher than most of that time period. Based on current trends, the report's authors predict potential record-breaking levels by the end of this century.
The article is making headlines, especially since it attributes the heat spike to human-caused global warming. The Wall Street Journal reported, "The study points to human activity as the cause, because the suddenness of the shift in temperature appears to be out of whack with long-term trends. CNN's Ben Brumfield opined, "It is a good indicator of just how fast man-made climate change has progressed." In comments on the research, The New York Times quoted Pennsylvania State University climatologist Michael Mann saying, "We and other living things can adapt to slower changes. It's the unprecedented speed with which we're changing the climate that is so worrisome."
However, these and other media sources ignore evidence to the contrary. Dr. David Whitehouse of the Global Warming Policy Foundation points out holes in this latest research and its conclusions. Whitehouse, former BBC Science Correspondent and former Science Editor of BBC News Online, disagrees that warming of the past few decades is unusual.
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