Study credits nature for recent variation in global temperatures
by Ben Bullard
A new study that analyzes existing data instead of relying on the predictions of computer models finds that global warming has stalled. It also finds that much of the climate variability attributed to man-made causes is, in fact, a product of natural processes that aren’t initiated through human influence.
The Duke University study predicts that future vacillations in global temperatures will likely result from natural variations, repeating an observable cycle in the data the researchers analyzed.
“A new study based on 1,000 years of temperature records suggests global warming is not progressing as fast as it would under the most severe emissions scenarios outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),” the study summary reports.
As pundits on both sides of the climate change debate rush to appropriate the findings to suit their agendas, the study itself does not dismiss the phenomenon of global warming.
Rather, it attributes the warming that’s so far been observed to “natural variability in surface temperatures — caused by interactions between the ocean and atmosphere, and other natural factors…”
The Duke researchers also don’t dismiss the theoretical contribution human activity might make, under the right circumstances, to exacerbate naturally inevitable increases in temperatures.
“At any given time, we could start warming at a faster rate if greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere increase without any offsetting changes in aerosol concentrations or natural variability,” researcher Wenhong Li stated.
But the study gives nature the lion’s share of the credit for recently observed increases in global temperatures, as well as the current “hiatus” in the present global warming “wiggle.”
“Statistically, it’s pretty unlikely that an 11-year hiatus in warming, like the one we saw at the start of this century, would occur if the underlying human-caused warming was progressing at a rate as fast as the most severe IPCC projections,” said researcher Patrick T. Brown.