Leading scientists have confirmed that global warming did indeed slow down somewhat for a few years during the 2000s, however they are careful to stress that slowing does not equate to stopping and that climate change is a real phenomenon.
The Washington Post reports that over the last decade, climate change deniers have found themselves with unprecedented fuel for their fire in the form of statistics that suggested that world temperatures did not increase during the 2000s to the degree that climate models had previously forecast they would. Some commentators suggested that global warming had gone on “hiatus”, other skeptics even more controversially used these claims of a slowdown to suggest that global warming had been over since 1998. Exceedingly few scientists would agree with the latter assertion, and indeed most of these notions regarding a “pause” have been vehemently disputed by many over the last couple of years. The issue appeared to have been laid definitively to rest in the summer of 2015 when updated temperature records from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) were used to demonstrate that no global warming slowdown had occurred during the 2000s.
A recent report in the Scientific American tries to make sense of oscillating scientific opinions, and asks whether global warming really did slow in the 2000s or not. However the answer is not a simple one. The report cites a commentary just published in the journal Nature Climate Change, by a group of scientists disputing the NOAA’s claims from last year, instead arguing that temperatures did indeed cease rising at previous rates during the 2000s. The research was led by John Fyfe of the Canadian Centre for Climate Modeling and Analysis at the University of Victoria and the authors of the paper include climate researchers Michael Mann of Penn State University, Benjamin Santer of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Gerald Meehl of the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
Author Michael Mann said that the group’s primary duty was to scientific accuracy and that they couldn’t allow concerns that their conclusions might be misrepresented by climate change deniers to stop the research team from publishing its findings:
As scientists, we must go where the evidence takes us, we can’t allow our worries about climate contrarians and how they might seek to misrepresent our work to dictate what we do and do not publish.
However Mann added that although his group’s finding do in fact suggest a reduction in acceleration of global warming over the last decade, that slowdown is now well and truly over, with record heat levels having been recorded in 2014 and 2015. He also stressed that climate change due to emissions was a serious threat to the planet that could only be combated by a reduction is those emissions:
[W]e have every reason to believe that the warming of the planet and the detrimental impacts of that warming will continue unabated if we do not dramatically reduce our emissions.
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