Study suggests record warming ahead

By Monte Morin

Los Angeles Times

Published: Thursday, March 7 2013 9:37 p.m. MST

Similarly, sediment core samples taken from the bottom of a pond, lake or ocean will contain fossilized pollen grains, which have very distinctive shapes when viewed under a microscope. By examining the variety of species and their abundance, scientists can gauge the area climate.

Yet another temperature indicator used in the study were trans fats produced by a specific type of algae. The chemical bonds of these fat molecules, called alkenones, change according to water temperature. When the algae die, the alkenones sink to the bottom of sea or lake bed, where they are mostly preserved.

What the researchers found was a climate that warmed and cooled gradually over a period of millennia, then experienced a sudden, unprecedented rise in temperatures — similar to earlier hockey stick graphs.

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