Top NASA Climate Scientist Says Temperatures Are Rising At Fastest Rate In 1,000 Years


Tom Hale

Tom is a writer in London with a Master's degree in Journalism whose editorial work covers anything from health and the environment to technology and archaeology.

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In December last year at the UN Climate Change Conference, 195 countries agreed to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5°C (2.7°F) above pre-Industrial averages. But according to a top NASA climate scientist, our chances of keeping that promise are “very unlikely” due to a recent rise in temperatures that have been “unprecedented in 1,000 years.”

The latest data says this July was the warmest month ever recorded. That news came after repeatedly smashed records for monthly global temperatures. Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has continually affirmed there is a 99 percent chance that 2016 will be the warmest year on record. In a recent interview with The Guardian, he went on to explain that the commitment to keep Earth temperatures within the agreed 1.5°C band is also looking increasingly unlikely, unless we rapidly make considerable cuts to carbon emissions or organize widespread geoengineering projects. 


“In the last 30 years we’ve really moved into exceptional territory,” Schmidt said in an interview with The Guardian. “It’s unprecedented in 1,000 years. There’s no period that has the trend seen in the 20th century in terms of the inclination (of temperatures).”


The latest data from NASA and the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) suggest that the warming temperatures experienced in recent years are rising considerably higher than any period over the past millennium.

These projections were made using both records dating back to 1880 and proxy data from ice cores and sediments that can give an indication of Earth's temperatures throughout the past 1,000 years.

“It’s the long-term trend we have to worry about though and there’s no evidence it’s going away and lots of reasons to think it’s here to stay,” Schmidt added. “There’s no pause or hiatus in temperature increase. People who think this is over are viewing the world through rose-tinted spectacles. This is a chronic problem for society for the next 100 years.”


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