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Current levels of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane in the atmosphere are higher now. I mean than at any time in the past 650,000 years.
That is the conclusion of new European studies looking at ice taken from 3km below the surface of Antarctica.
Other research, also published in the journal Science, suggests that sea levels may be rising twice as fast now as in previous centuries.
The evidence on atmospheric concentrations comes from an Antarctic region called Dome Concordia (Dome C).
By Richard Black
Environment Correspondent, BBC News website
According to RealClimate:
The latest results from the EPICA core in Antarctica have just been published this week in Science (Siegenthaler et al. and Spahni et al.). This ice core extended the record of Antarctic climate back to maybe 800,000 years. Also and the first 650,000 years of ice have now been analysed for greenhouse gas concentrations.
For they were saved in tiny bubbles. The records for CO2, CH4 and N2O both confirm the Vostok records that have been available for a few years now, and extend them over another 4 glacial-interglacial cycles.
This is a landmark result and a strong testament to the almost heroic efforts in the field to bring back these samples from over 3km deep in the Antarctica ice. So what do these new data tell us, and where might they lead?
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