By the end of the century, humans will get unwanted bragging rights: They will be living in temperatures hotter than any endured by their ancestors, reports the Los Angeles Times. Such is the conclusion of a major new study from researchers at Oregon State and Harvard, who pored over data from 73 sites over the world going back 11,300 years. "By the year 2100, we will be beyond anything human society has ever experienced," says project leader Shaun Marcott at Oregon State.
The research covers the entire span of what's known as the Holocene period, which began after the last ice age, reports the New York Times. After an initial spike in temperatures at the start of the Holocene made it warmer than it is today, average temperatures plateaued, then declined for thousands of years. That changed in the last century, with temperatures rising a startling 1.3 degrees over 100 years. Today's temperatures are hotter than 75% of the entire Holocene era, and they will exceed the hottest temperatures in the coming decades, say the scientists. (Think of a much longer version of the common "hockey stick" analogy of temperatures, notes New Scientist.)