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New research from the journal Science shows that arctic temperatures are higher now than they have been for the past 2000 years. Using ice cores, tree rings and lake sediments, Kaufmann et al were able to establish a comprehensive record of decadal change within the region, revealing that four of the five warmest decades occured between 1950 – 2000. One of the most striking factors is the rate of this change  – a gradual cooling is evident throughout the time series (0.2°C up untill 1900), yet the subsequent rate of warming in the last century is substantial (1.2°C – see the hockey-stick curve above). Click below to read more from the BBC News, or here for the article summary from Science.

“The most pervasive signal in the reconstruction, the most prominent trend, is the overall cooling that took place for the first 1,900 years [of the record],” said study leader Darrell Kaufman from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, US.

“The 20th Century stands out in strong contrast to the cooling that should have continued. The last half-century was the warmest of the 2,000-year temperature record, and the last 10 years have been especially dramatic,” he told BBC News. (Read More)

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