The planet has warmed by 0.85C since the industrial revolution, or since 1880, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is the baseline for measurement by the scientific community. That doesn’t seem like much; it’s such a small number, less than one (1).
But, remarkably, the increase of 0.85C happened within 150 years, whereas historically it normally took much, much longer for the planet’s temperature to increase by that amount. Ostensibly, it’s speeding up by quite a bit.
Beware! The 0.85C temp increase is mere triviality when compared to some prior events in the paleoclimatic record books. An ominous event much more threatening than a 0.85C increase may be lurking in the shadows. Paleoclimatic studies confirm Earth’s climate has turned nasty “on a dime of geological time,” within little more than a decade, more on this later.
Not only that, temperature changes of only two (2C) degrees Celsius warmer than today can, and did, equate to 16 feet of water for NYC whereas only four (4C) degrees Celsius cooler than today can, and did, equate to a block of ice 1.24 miles thick surrounding NYC. Those two seemingly small numbers, 2C and 4C, are examples used in Sir David Attenborough’s film, Are We Changing Planet Earth? BBC Natural History Unit, BBC One.
Attenborough’s film unequivocally answers the question its title poses: “Yes, we are.”
As explained in the film, seemingly small temperature changes have huge planetary impact, for example: 160,000 years ago when temperatures were 4C cooler than today, NYC would have been in a block of ice 1.25 miles thick.
Then, 30,000 years later, when temperatures were 2C warmer than today, NYC would have been in 16 feet of water.