Report Gives Historical Context To Climate Patterns

Feb 5, 2018

A paper published by a former University of Wyoming graduate student shows recent temperatures across Europe and North America are at unprecedented highs. The report, titled "Reconciling Divergent Trends and Millennial Variations in Holocene Temperatures” looked at climate patterns over the past 11,000 years. A portion of Marsicek's dissertation was published in the academic journal, Nature, last week.

Comparison of North Atlantic and global marine-margin temperature reconstructions with our pollen-inferred mean annual temperature reconstruction for North America and Europe.
Credit Jeremiah Marsicek/University of Wyoming / Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature

Jeremiah Marsicek, who wrote the dissertation and is now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Wisconsin Madison, said, “We’ve only seen 70 years in the past 11,000 as high as we’ve seen in the past decade. We’re moving into this period of unprecedented warmth.”

Marsicek studied temperature fluctuations by looking at historic plant pollen.

"Each type of pollen grain comes from a specific tree and that pollen grain has a specific shape. And by knowing that shape, you can pin it to a tree, and see what trees were on the landscape,” Marsicek said. "You start to get a clearer picture of the temperature would have been like.”

He added climate patterns show earth should be in a cooling system right now, if not for human activity and our contribution to greenhouse gases.