NOAA NCDC National Climatic Data Center
NOAA Paleoclimatology Program, NCDC Paleoclimatology Branch  
Paleoclimatology Navigation Bar Bookmark and Share
NOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA National Climatic Data Center U.S. Department of Commerce Paleo Home Data Paleo Projects Paleo Perspectives Education and Outreach About Paleo Program Site Map GW Home Story Data End Site Map Global Warming Spanish Page Contact NOAA Paleo

The Penultimate Interglacial Period


Penultimate Interglacial Period
ca. 125,000 Years Ago

We are in the current "Holocene" interglacial which began about 10,000 years ago. As mentioned elsewhere the middle of the Holocene was warmer than today, but generally only in the northern hemisphere and in summer. For similar reasons (changes in the Earth's orbit changing the distribution of solar radiation received on Earth), the penultimate interglacial (also commonly called the "Eemian") also had a climate different from today. In contrast to the Holocene, we have far fewer records from the Eemian interglacial because it took place about 125,000 years ago. It appears that temperatures (at least summer temperatures) were slightly warmer than today (by about 1 to 2°C), but for reasons that are well known - the changes in the Earth's orbit.
Difference of Modern Sea Temperatures - CLIMAP 1984, Map courtesy of NGDC MGG
The figure, pictured above, demonstrates the difference between modern sea surface temperature and estimated February sea surface temperature (in °C) at the last interglaciation, some 120,000 years ago. Negative values mean that the last interglacial ocean was colder than today. Note that most SST values are similar to present. Samples with more than one estimate reflect use of more than one proxy source (F = foram, R = radiolaria, C = coccolith).
For larger viewing version of map, please click here or on map. [Figure from CLIMAP, 1984. For complete scientific reference, please click here. Image map courtesy of NDGC Marine Geology and Geophysics Program.]

On to... "Mid-Cretaceous Period"
Back to... "Paleo Data Before 2000 Years Ago"

Dividing Line
Privacy Policy information Open Access Climate Data Policy link USA logo Disclaimer information
Dividing Line
Downloaded Tuesday, 24-Jan-2017 00:07:29 EST
Last Updated Wednesday, 20-Aug-2008 11:23:45 EDT by
Please see the Paleoclimatology Contact Page or the NCDC Contact Page if you have questions or comments.