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Last updated at 14:57 BST, Monday, 05 October 2009

Arctic warmest in two millennia

Summary

5 October 2009

Temperatures in the Arctic are now the highest they've been for 2,000 years, according to scientists. Researchers in the United States say that it is one of the clearest signs yet that human activity is warming the planet.

Reporter:
Richard Black

Greenland

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Scientists have produced evidence showing dramatically that the current temperature rise there is highly unusual. For most of the last two thousand years, the Arctic slowly cooled, a consequence of variations in the Earth's orbit.

But over the last century, the cooling abruptly reversed, and the region is now warmer than at any time in the 2,000 year record. Writing in the journal Science, the researchers say this shows how quickly the Arctic responds to climatic changes.

Richard Black, BBC News

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Vocabulary

produced evidence

found and shown proof

dramatically

here, in a very convincing way (literally, dramatically means very noticeably)

a consequence

one of the results

variations

slight changes; here, deviations from the average moving path of astronomical objects, e.g. a planet or satellite

orbit

the curved path through which astronomical objects move around a planet or star

abruptly

suddenly, unexpectedly

reversed

changed to its opposite

responds to

here, is affected by

climatic changes

long-term changes in weather patterns

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