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Highest CO2 and Methane in 800,000 Years

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  • Pat Neuman
    May 19, 2008 This post is by Lisa Moore, Ph.D., a scientist in the Climate and Air program at Environmental Defense Fund. In IPCC s Third Assessment Report
    Message 1 of 1 , May 20, 2008
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      May 19, 2008

      This post is by Lisa Moore, Ph.D., a scientist in the Climate and Air
      program at Environmental Defense Fund.

      In IPCC's Third Assessment Report (2001), scientists reported that
      carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane levels were higher than at any time
      in the past 420,000 years. In their latest report (2007), IPCC
      scientists raised the number to 650,000 years.

      Last week, scientists again revised the number upward. New research
      shows that CO2 and methane levels are higher today than they have been
      in at least 800,000 years.

      Here's how they know.

      The research, published in Nature, analyzes the atmospheric gases
      trapped in ice cores extracted from Antarctica. These ice cores are
      the oldest yet studied. In 2001, the 420,000-year old Vostok ice core
      from eastern Antarctica set the benchmark. In 2005, scientists
      analyzed a 650,000-year record from Antarctica's Dome C. Now, drilling
      even deeper, scientists at Dome C have assembled an 800,000 year
      record of CO2, methane and temperature.

      These are the main findings:

      * CO2 and methane levels are higher today than they have been in
      at least the past 800,000 years.
      * The strong correlations of methane and CO2 with temperature
      reconstructions are consistent back 800,000 years.
      * The long-term cyclic changes in temperature, methane and CO2
      that follow slow changes in Earth's orbit are consistent back 800,000
      years.

      ...

      http://environmentaldefenseblogs.org/climate411/2008/05/19/ice_core_record_800ky/#more-511
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