Many scientists have long suspected that rising levels of carbon-dioxide and the global warming that ended the last Ice Age were somehow linked, but establishing a clear cause-and-effect relationship between CO2 and global warming from the geologic record has remained difficult.
A new study, funded by the National Science Foundation and published in the journal Nature, identifies that relationship and provides compelling evidence that rising CO2 caused much of the global warming.
'CO2 was a big part of bringing the world out of the last Ice Age," says the lead author, Jeremy Shakun, 'and it took about 10,000 years to do it. Now CO2 levels are rising again, but this time an equivalent increase in CO2 has occurred in only about 200 years, and there are clear signs that the planet is already beginning to respond.'
The question now, say the researchers, is how carbon-dioxide generated by humans will affect the planet when there is no ice-age.
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