Scientific research reveals future secrets of global warming

New research which reveals details on changes in the Earth's climate from more than 100,000 years ago provides surprising details on changes in the Earth's climate and indicates that the last interglacial period may be a good analogue for where the planet is heading in the face of increasing greenhouse gases and warming temperatures.

Swansea University scientist, Professor Siwan Davies accompanied an international team of researchers from 14 countries to North Greenland to analyse ice from the last 'warm period' on Earth, known as the Eemian period.

Led by the Centre for Ice and Climate at the University of Copenhagen, the team drilled more than 2.5 km to bedrock between 2008 and 2012 as part of the North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling project (NEEM).

The new findings reveal that the climate in North Greenland between 130,000 and 115,000 years ago was 8 degrees Celsius warmer than today and the seas were roughly four to eight meters higher. Intense surface melting was especially noted during the early stages of the last inter-glacial.

But the research also shows that the ice-sheet surface in this area was only a few hundred metres lower than present suggesting that the Greenland ice-sheet contributed less than half of the total sea-level rise at this time.

This then suggests that the more unstable West Antarctic ice-sheet must be responsible for a significant part of the 4-8m rise in sea level during this period.