Tuesday, 13 October 2009

BBC: Climate is not changing but the discussion is getting hotter

According to new data, Earth’s temperature has not risen for 11 years. Image courtesy of NASA.

Joel Kontinen

Earth’s climate has not become any warmer in 11 years. Up to now, the warmest year was 1998. Although there is more man-made carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, temperatures have not risen.

Surprisingly, this news item was not published on a blog that takes a skeptical approach to climate change but on the science pages of BBC news. According to climate correspondent Paul Hudson, our planet warmed rapidly in the 20th century but now this warming has stopped.

Hudson does not mention Ian Plimmer, the controversial Australian geologist who was known as a fierce critic of creation but is now a self-proclaimed climate skeptic. Instead, he quotes more moderate experts.

Atmospheric scientists do not agree on the reason for the cooling. Dr. Piers Forster of Leeds University, who is a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), says that the warming during the past few decades was not due to the sun.

However, solar scientist Piers Corbyn says that the sun’s effect has actually been underestimated.

Hudson also quotes Don Easterbrook, a professor at Western Washington University, who suggests that the oceans have a greater effect on climate than was supposed. The 1980s and 1990s were exceptionally warm. Now we have entered a cooler period that he expects to last 30 years.

Professor Mojib Latif, a member of the IPCC, admits that we might indeed be on our way towards a cooler period. However, he does not expect it to last as long as Easterbrook suggests.

The forecast? According to Hudson, the discussion on the reasons behind climate change is expected to heat up.

Al Gore and the Nobel Committee might also get something to think about. Barack Obama probably got this year’s peace prize partly because of his believe in man-made global warming.


Hudson, Paul. 2009. What happened to global warming? BBC News (9 October) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8299079.stm