- The figures reveal that from the beginning of 1997 until August 2012 there was no discernible rise in aggregate global temperatures
- This means that the ‘pause’ in global warming has now lasted for about the same time as the previous period when temperatures rose, 1980 to 1996
Graph: global temperature changes.
Research: The new figures mean that the ‘pause’ in global warming has now lasted for about the same time as the previous period when temperatures rose, 1980 to 1996. This picture shows an iceberg melting in Eastern GreenlandThe new data, compiled from more than 3,000 measuring points on land and sea, was issued quietly on the internet, without any media fanfare, and, until today, it has not been reported. This stands in sharp contrast to the release of the previous figures six months ago, which went only to the end of 2010 – a very warm year. Ending the data then means it is possible to show a slight warming trend since 1997, but 2011 and the first eight months of 2012 were much cooler, and thus this trend is erased. Some climate scientists, such as Professor Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, last week dismissed the significance of the plateau, saying that 15 or 16 years is too short a period from which to draw conclusions. Others disagreed. Professor Judith Curry, who is the head of the climate science department at America’s prestigious Georgia Tech university, told The Mail on Sunday that it was clear that the computer models used to predict future warming were ‘deeply flawed’. Even Prof Jones admitted that he and his colleagues did not understand the impact of ‘natural variability’ – factors such as long-term ocean temperature cycles and changes in the output of the sun. However, he said he was still convinced that the current decade would end up significantly warmer than the previous two.
Disagreement: Professor Phil Jones, left, from the University of East Anglia, dismissed the significance of the plateau. Professor Judith Curry, right, from Georgia Tech university in America, disagreed, saying the computer models used to predict future warming were ‘deeply flawed’ Warmer: Since 1880 the world has warmed by 0.75 degrees Celsius. This image shows floating icebergs in Greenland The regular data collected on global temperature is called Hadcrut 4, as it is jointly issued by the Met Office’s Hadley Centre and Prof Jones’s Climatic Research Unit. Since 1880, when worldwide industrialisation began to gather pace and reliable statistics were first collected on a global scale, the world has warmed by 0.75 degrees Celsius. Some scientists have claimed that this rate of warming is set to increase hugely without drastic cuts to carbon-dioxide emissions, predicting a catastrophic increase of up to a further five degrees Celsius by the end of the century. The new figures were released as the Government made clear that it would ‘bend’ its own carbon-dioxide rules and build new power stations to try to combat the threat of blackouts. At last week’s Conservative Party Conference, the new Energy Minister, John Hayes, promised that ‘the high-flown theories of bourgeois Left-wing academics will not override the interests of ordinary people who need fuel for heat, light and transport – energy policies, you might say, for the many, not the few’ – a pledge that has triggered fury from green activists, who fear reductions in the huge subsidies given to wind-turbine firms.