Will The World Heat Up Over The Next Ten Years?!
Aug 17, 2007 by Andrew Hull
Writing in “Science” researchers from the “Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research”, say that by adding short term natural events such as El Nino they will now be able to offer ten year projections whereas previous predictions focussed on the next 100 years and were of little use to business or to people in general.
They project that at least half of the years between 2009 and 2014 will most likely exceed existing records but emphasize that the influence of natural climatic variations was likely to lessen the effects of emissions from human activities between now and 2009.
They project that the global average temperature over the decade as a whole in 2014 will be 0.3C warmer than in 2004.
It will perhaps be surprising to some that 1998 is the warmest year on record when the global mean surface temperature was 14.54C (58.17F).
Doug Smith who is a climate scientist at the Hadley Centre explained how their new model differs from existing ones.
"On a ten year timescale both natural internal variability and the global warming signal (human induced climate change) are important, whereas looking out to 2100 only the global warming signal will dominate”.
The latest assessment from the “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change” (IPCC), said that human activity was "very likely" causing the world to warm and predicted the global average temperature was probably going to increase by 1.8-4.0C (3.2-7.2F) by the end of the century.
"It is the same model as used in the latest IPCC report's predictions for the coming century but the difference is that it starts from the real observed status of the ocean and the atmosphere”, said Dr Smith, the paper's lead author.
"Greenhouse gases and aerosols are also included but we are really trying to predict any [natural] variability on top of that. We start with the present state of the ocean and we try to predict how it is going to evolve”, he told BBC News.
In order to offer a projection for the coming decade rather than for a century ahead the model also assesses the current state of the oceans and atmosphere which allows researchers to predict how natural shifts such as the El Nino phenomenon in the eastern Pacific and the North Atlantic Oscillation will affect the global climate system.
"One reason why the ten year projection had not been done before is because the oceans have traditionally had very poor observational coverage. They been very sparse and a little bit "noisy" so it was difficult to interpret what the real temperatures were over large parts of the ocean. However, recent improvements in data collection from satellites and in-situ instruments have allowed climatologists to improve their understanding of how ocean dynamics influence the climate system”, Dr Smith said, and he added that decadal outlooks would provide businesses and politicians with meaningful and useful information.
"Nearly all businesses have to make decisions on that sort of timescale. They plan for the next five to ten years. The climate has already changed and it is continuing to change and people need the best information available to help them adapt to these changes”.