Proving once more that climate change is a runaway problem, scientists discovered that the earth is the hottest it’s been in 125,000 years. The last time global temperatures were this high, sea levels completely covered the land on which New Orleans currently sits.

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According to a report in Science Magazine, today’s ocean surface temperatures are comparable to those dating back 125,000 years. Jeremy Hoffman and colleagues at Oregon State University studied chemical clues in 104 seafloor sediment samples taken from areas around the world. By comparing the samples, they were able to create a picture of what the climate actually looked like 125,000 years ago.

Related; Scientists warn rapidly melting glacier in West Antarctica could cause serious global havoc

Scientists regularly look to the last interglacial period to model how Earth’s rising temperature will affect sea levels. Sea levels rose 20 to 30 feet above their current levels, and the average global sea surface temperatures at that time were almost identical to the 1995 to 2014 average temperatures, according to the researchers. According to Science News, this new information will help scientists improve predictions about how our oceans will respond to climate change.

+ Science Magazine

Via Science News

Images via NPS Climate Change Response, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and NASA