So lately it’s become fashionable in the climate change denial circles to say that global warming actually stopped a decade ago. “The global warming crowd has a problem,” Gary North wrote in this July 25 post on the Libertarian blog LewRockwell.com. “Global warming has disappeared. It’s missing in action. The public is cooling toward the idea that we need intervention by governments to stop global warming.”
In actual fact–and climate scientists seem to agree on this–since about 2000 the global temperature rise of 0.13 degrees Centigrade that we were seeing each decade went on “hiatus.” But unlike North and other types who never seemed to believe in climate change in the place, climate scientists weren’t sure about why such a change had taken place. One thing they did suspect was that some sort of cycling was taking place–the Earth is a big place, after all, and change rarely happens in a uniform way.
Now, it seems, new research from scientists at UH Manoa and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have concluded that a temporary cooling of Eastern Pacific waters has led to recent lowered global temperatures.
“Specifically the model reproduced the seasonal variation of the hiatus, including a slight cooling trend in global temperature during northern winter season,” said Shang-Ping Xie, a meteorology professor at UH Manoa’s International Pacific Research Center and the first Roger Revelle Chair in Environmental Science at Scripps in a Aug. 29 UH news release. “In summer, the equatorial Pacific’s grip on the Northern Hemisphere loosens, and the increased greenhouse gases continue to warm temperatures, causing record heat waves and unprecedented Arctic sea ice retreat.”
Sadly, climate change is still very complex and very much a part of our lives. It is also, as UH researcher Richard Zeebe has shown, most likely going to be worse than scientists thought even a decade ago.
Photo: Christine Zenino/Wikimedia Commons