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Press Release 11-006

Earth's Hot Past: Prologue to Future Climate?

Study of Earth's deep past leads to look into the future

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Photo of a red sun on the horizon with silouetted landscape in foreground.

If carbon dioxide emissions continue on their current trajectory, Earth may someday return to an ancient, hotter climate when the Antarctic ice sheet didn't exist.

Credit: NOAA


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Geoscientist Jeff Kiehl talks about his findings on Earth's potential future climate.

Credit: UCAR

 

World map showing location of tree rings, coral reefs and ice used to study past climates.

Tree rings, coral reefs and long-frozen ice allow scientists glimpses of distant past climates.

Credit: NOAA


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World map showing lake levels and pollen samples used to learn about past climates.

Scientists learn about past climates through "proxies" such as pollen in lake sediments.

Credit: NOAA


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World map showing location of sediment cores from beneath the sea-floor.

Cores of sediment drilled from beneath the sea-floor provide information on paleoclimate.

Credit: NOAA


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Cover of the January 14, 2011 issue of the journal Science.

The researchers' findings are described in the January 14, 2011 issue of the journal Science.

Credit: Copyright AAAS 2011


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