For people who want more action on global warming, an inconvenient truth has arisen over the last decade: Annual average temperatures stayed relatively flat globally — and dropped in the United States and Oregon — despite mankind’s growing release of greenhouse gases.
The hiatus in temperature increases may be contributing to higher public skepticism about warming, particularly in the United States. But it hasn’t changed most climate researchers’ opinions of likely substantial human-caused warming this century from releases of carbon dioxide and other gases.
It occurs at the high-end of a 100-year-long warming trend and follows record, El Niño-fueled highs in 1998, notes Phil Mote of Oregon State University, who headlines a global warming presentation Tuesday before the Oregon chapter of the American Meteorological Society.
The presentation by Mote and two other Oregon researchers comes after a panel of skeptics of manmade global warming presented to the Oregon chapter in January.
“We are at a level where it’s a whole lot warmer than it used to be,” Mote says. “The physical explanations are pretty convincing on why there has been a pause in global warming, and we have no reason to think it will last much longer.”
Skeptics say the lack of temperature increases should heighten doubts about projections of severe warming. Computer climate models didn’t predict the hiatus, notes Portland meteorologist Chuck Wiese, among the scientists who presented in January.
“It doesn’t matter whether it’s still warm compared to earlier periods,” Wiese says. “The whole idea was it would get warmer as C02 went up. This is a very severe contradiction to everything they put in their climate (computer) code and they modeled.”