Firefighters work to dig a fire line on the Rocky Fire in Lake County, California July 30, 2015. This week, three scientific agencies announced that July was the hottest month on Earth since records were started in 1880. (Photo: Reuters/Max Whittaker)
"We’ve recently entered a new point in the Earth’s climate history. According to reconstructions using tree rings, corals, and ice cores, global temperatures are currently approaching—if not already past—the maximum temperatures commonly observed over the past 11,000 years (i.e., the time period in which humans developed agriculture), and we are flirting with levels not seen in more than 100,000 years.
But this is the scary part: The current level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher than at any point since humans first evolved millions of years ago. Since carbon dioxide emissions lead to warming, the fact that emissions are increasing means there’s much more warming yet to come. What’s more, carbon dioxide levels are increasing really quickly. The rate of change is faster than at any point in Earth’s entire 4.5 billion year history, likely 10 times faster than during Earth’s worst mass extinction—the “Great Dying”—in which more than 90 percent of ocean species perished. Our planet has simply never undergone the kind of stress we’re currently putting on it. That stunning rate of change is one reason why surprising studies like the recent worse-than-the-worst-case-scenario study on sea level rise don’t seem so far fetched."http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/08/21/world-fire-july-was-hottest-month-ever-recorded