A recently concluded study by climate scientists at the UK’s Met Office Hadley Center forecasts continued warming over the next 10 years. The study, published in the journal Science, “includes the Met Office’s prediction for annual global temperature to 2014,” said the bulletin.
“Over the 10-year period as a whole, climate continues to warm and 2014 is likely to be 0.3 °C [0.54 °F] warmer than 2004. At least half of the years after 2009 are predicted to exceed the warmest year currently on record.” The Met Office said “1998 is the current warmest year on record with a global mean temperature of 14.54 °C [58.17 °F].” According to data compiled by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), total global warming, on a decadal average, is 0.8 °C [1.44 °F] since 1900.
The report points out the usefulness of such short-term predictions, especially to “businesses and policy-makers who will be able to respond to short-term climate change when making decisions today. The next decade is within many people’s understanding and brings home the reality of a changing climate.”
The forecast is based on a new climate model, that “incorporates the effects of sea surface temperatures as well as other factors such as man-made emissions of greenhouse gases, projected changes in the sun’s output and the effects of previous volcanic eruptions.” By modifying previous models to analyze both “internal and external variability” for the first time, the predictions should be more accurate.
Team leader, Dr. Doug Smith commented: “Occurrences of El Nino, for example, have a significant effect on shorter-term predictions. By including such internal variability, we have shown a substantial improvement in predictions of surface temperature.” He also noted that “observed relative cooling in the Southern Ocean and tropical Pacific over the last couple of years was correctly predicted by the new system, giving us greater confidence in the model’s performance”.
The inclusion of such additional data addresses many of the points raised by those who challenge the very idea of climate change – and there are many who continue to do so. No competent climatologist denies that a complex number of variables influence the world’s weather – the sun, volcanic eruptions, cyclical changes, etc. But the vast majority of experts in the field now also accept that man’s activity – principally the emission of greenhouse gasses – has become a major ongoing factor in producing global warming.
In addition to the current report the UK’s Met Office – http://www.metoffice.gov.uk. – offers additional information on climate change as well as an extremely useful analysis of “Climate Change Myths” under the “Research” section of its web site.
Source: Met Office
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