Warming might be on hold, study finds.
For those who have endured this winter’s frigid temperatures and today’s heavy snowstorm in the Northeast, the concept of global warming may seem, well, almost wishful.
But climate is known to be variable — a cold winter, or a few strung together doesn’t mean the planet is cooling. Still, according to a new study, global warming may have hit a speed bump and could go into hiding for decades.
Earth’s climate continues to confound scientists. Following a 30-year trend of warming, global temperatures have flatlined since 2001 despite rising greenhouse gas concentrations, and a heat surplus that should have cranked up the planetary thermostat.
“This is nothing like anything we’ve seen since 1950,” Kyle Swanson of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee said. “Cooling events since then had firm causes, like eruptions or large-magnitude La Ninas. This current cooling doesn’t have one.” [From McAuleys World: Note the scientific acknowledgement that there have been several warming and cooling events since the 1950’s.]
How does this square with temperature records from 2005-2007, by some measurements among the warmest years on record? When added up with the other four years since 2001, Swanson said the overall trend is flat, even though temperatures should have gone up by 0.2 degree (1/5 of a degree Centigrade or 0.36 degree (1/3rd of a degree) Fahrenheit during that time.The discrepancy gets to the heart of one of the toughest problems in climate science — identifying the difference between natural variability (like the occasional March snow storm) from human-induced change.
Instead, Swanson and colleague Anastasios Tsonis think a series of climate processes have aligned, conspiring to chill the climate. In 1997 and 1998, the tropical Pacific Ocean warmed rapidly in what Swanson called a “super El Nino event.” It sent a shock wave through the oceans and atmosphere, jarring their circulation patterns into unison.
“It is possible that a fraction of the most recent rapid warming since the 1970’s was due to a free variation in climate,” Isaac Held of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Princeton, New Jersey wrote in an email to Discovery News.
Swanson thinks the cooling trend could continue for up to 30 years.
From McAuleys’w World: Isn’t it time we demand an open an honest intellectual debate on Global Warming before Trillions of dollars are misspent and 10’s of thousands of workers lose their jobs because Politicians are pursuing alternatives that are not justified on the basis of a dubious connection between Global Warming and so called “man-made” Green House gases. The costs of Cap and Trade “taxes” on the poor, the old and those on fixed incomes will be catastrophic. The “Green Agenda” is being driven by those with a financial interest in the ”Alternative Energy Platforms”.