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While the planet has undergone rising and falling temperature changes throughout its history, a series of studies published this week in Nature and Nature Geoscience set out to refute any notion that the increasing temperatures seen over the last century are simply a normal part of nature’s cycle.

Researchers looked at records of trees, ice, sediment, corals, cave deposits and other evidence from the last two millenniums to determine that Earth has never experienced the quick and widespread temperature changes it has seen in just over the last 150 years.

Warming and cooling periods before have occurred on the planet before, such as the Little Ice Age between 1300 and 1850 CE, and the Medieval Warm Period between 800 and 1200 CE. But a team from the University of Bern found the fluctuations in temperature during these periods varied from location to location and affected less than half the planet at any one time, according to The Guardian, citing the team’s study in Nature.

In comparison, the rise in temperatures over the last century have been felt over 98 percent of Earth’s surface. The only exception is Antartica, where “contemporary warming has not yet been observed over the entire continent,” ABC of Australia noted.
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