Next Five Years Will Warm Faster Than Predicted, Scientists Say


photo: Clay Junell via flickr

An oft-heard claim by climate change skeptics supporting their position is that since 1998, the hottest year on record, global temperatures have stabilized or actually declined a bit, therefore global warming is bunk. Well, new research to be published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters shows why that argument is just a bunch of hot air. The Guardian sums it up: Judith Lean, of the US Naval Research Laboratory, and David Rind, of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, looked at the combined impact on global temperatures of human impacts like CO2 and aerosol emissions, heating from the sun, volcanic activity, and El Niño. This is the first time all these factors have been studied together (surprisingly).

Solar Cycle, El Niño Lowpoints Mask Influence of GHGs
They found that the stability in global temperatures in the past several years is due to declines in incoming sunlight, the result of the downward phase of the 11-year solar cycle, combined with no strong El Niño events occurring. These have masked the warming caused by increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Lean and Rind go on to say that as solar activity again picks up, temperatures are likely to rise 150% faster than predicted by the last IPCC report.

Furthermore, as the world is entering a new El Niño warm spell, the temperature rises could be even more pronounced.

More: The Guardian
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