Friday 28th October 2016                 Change text size:

Global warming has not paused since 1998, says study

NASA Goddard Photo and Video via Flickr

New research has suggested that global warming has not stopped since 1998, as many climate deniers argue. Instead, it has simply manifested in different ways.

According to Kevin Trenberth and John Fasullo, authors of the study An apparent hiatus in global warming?, the slowing down has been effective for the average global surface temperatures.

However, they found that Arctic ice melt, rising sea levels and ocean temperature warming have continued at constant and sustained paces.

The study acknowledges that carbon dioxide (CO2) levels have been rising since the 2000s and so did global temperatures – although at a slower rate compared to previous decades. The slowdown led many, especially certain sections of the media, to insist that a hiatus in global warming was taking place.

However, Trenberth and Fasullo’s study points out that global warming has not stopped, as the oceans have continued to warm and ice in the Arctic has reached record lows.

The evidence supports continued heating of the climate system as manifested by melting of Arctic sea ice and glaciers, as well as Greenland, but most of the heat is going into the oceans and increasingly into the deep ocean, and thus contributes to sea-level rise”, the study says.

The analysis in this article does not suggest that global warming has disappeared; on the contrary, it is very much alive but being manifested in somewhat different ways than a simple increase in global mean surface temperature.”

Many suggest that the reason for the slowdown in the Earth’s surface temperature rise can be chiefly attributed to the cooling of tropical waters in the Pacific Ocean. A study published in August revealed that while this may be the case, surface warming will go back to its normal pace once the climate cycle reverts.

Further reading:

Cooler Pacific temperatures explain slowdown in global warming

Climate change science is ‘irrefutable’, says John Kerry

IPCC climate report: global temperatures likely to exceed 2C this century

‘Pause’ in global warming a result of gaps in data, finds new research

The Guide to Climate Change 2013

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