To be clear, the study finds that temperatures in about a fifth of this historical period were higher than they are today. But the key, said lead author Shaun Marcott of Oregon State University, is that temperatures are shooting through the roof faster than we've ever seen.
"What we found is that temperatures increased in the last hundred years as much as they had cooled in the last six or seven thousand," he said. "In other words, the rate of change is much greater than anything we've seen in the whole Holocene," referring to the current geologic time period, which began around 11,500 years ago.
Which pretty much indicates that something seems to have happened at around this time to cause temperatures to spike, you'd think?
Which isn't to say that denialists can't criticize how the data is presented or even what it means.
(I've got to wonder about the denialist mindset--at the link, a "less-scary" graph using the same data is set within a temperature range compatible with "human flourishing". Maybe it superficially looks more reassuring. Now, I might be overthinking this--but humans aren't the only life forms on this planet; take a look at acidifcation of the oceans as a byproduct of warming, changes in migration patterns of different species, and die-offs due to changes too radical for some species to adapt to. That's our food supply we're talking about--and we kind of need one of those for our survival, no? Also, we're talking about average temperatures. If average temperatures are closer to the higher end of that scale, that means that some areas of the planet that are currently habitable, will be pushed outside that range. It doesn't "look" as scary, but it still is.)
Any way, I'm not sure that the "boomerang/hockey stick" nickname is still appropriate. I know what it sort of reminds me of: