Has global cooling begun?
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So many people wish that global warming would just go away. But sorry. It ain't happenin'. The atmosphere, if it could talk, is refusing to say: Uncle! At least to those wishing the issue would disappear.
The latest deuce in the global-cooling house of cards came recently via the BBC. One of The Monitor's reporters recapped it here. What climate data actually has to say about the issue appears here and here.
But if you want to save a mouse click or two, here's the upshot: The most that can be said is that natural variability may well have been strong enough to slow for the past 11 years any signal from human-induced warming.
Ironically, Britain's Hadley Center for Climate Prediction and Research, the former employer of the local BBC weatherman who patched the BBC article together under the title of "climate correspondent," has this to say about the current state of the climate:
The record-breaking temperatures in 1998 occurred after three decades of warming, starting in the 1970s. These decades saw an increase in global average temperature of about 0.45 °C. After 1998, however, warming slowed significantly — trends over the past 10 years show only a 0.07 °C increase in global average temperature. Although this is only a small increase, it indicates that there has been no global cooling over this period. In fact, over the past decade, most years have remained much closer to the record global average temperature reached in 1998 than to temperatures before the 1970s. All the years from 2000 to 2008 have been in the top 14 warmest years on record. (Here's the link.)
Moreover, Hadley researchers asked themselves the musical question: How often would one expect a brief respite from rising temperatures? Jeff Knight, who contributed to an exhaustive State of the Climate 2008 report that appeared in the August in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, noted:
“We found about one in every eight decades has near-zero or negative global temperature trends in simulations which would otherwise be warm at expected present-day rates. Given that we have seen fairly consistent global warming since the 1970s, these odds suggest the observed slowdown was due to occur.” (Here's the link.)