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Ice cores hold threat of climate timebomb

Source:  Copyright 2006, Press Association
Date:  September 6, 2006
Byline:  John Von Radowitz
Original URL: Status ONLINE

A CLIMATE change timebomb may be just 10 years away from detonating, according to the latest global warming evidence.

Data from a deep ice core drilled out of the Antarctic permafrost reveals a shocking rate of change in carbon dioxide concentrations. The core, stretching through layers dating back 800,000 years, contains tiny bubbles of ancient air that can be analysed.

Scientists who studied the samples found that they left no doubt as to the extent of the build-up of greenhouse gases. For most of the past 800,000 years, carbon dioxide levels had remained at between 180 and 300 parts per million (ppm) of air. Today they were at 380 ppm.

In the past, it had taken 1000 years for carbon dioxide to rise by 30 ppm during natural warming periods. According to the new measurements, the same level of increase has occurred in the past 17 years.

Isotopic tests confirmed the recent carbon dioxide had come from fossil ...

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