A report from the United Kingdom’s Met Office makes the case that a decade-and-a-half-long ‘pause’ in warming provides no basis for backing off from concerns over continued warming.
A new three-part report from the United Kingdom’s Met Office lays out the science-based arguments likely to be at center stage in countering claims that the recent “pause in global warming” over the past decade or more means society can let down its guard in confronting climate change.
The Met office report comes at a time when leading climate scientists and communicators around the world are anticipating how best to communicate the scientific results of the upcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change “AR 5,” the fifth assessment report. Elements of that report are expected to be officially released starting in the early fall, with more of the full report released over following months. Proponents of the IPCC reports anticipate climate “skeptics” and “contrarians” will focus hard on making the issues of climate sensitivity and of the recent “pause” a major frame in media coverage. The Met Office report is likely to be one of many efforts to counter that push.
“A wide range of observed climate indicators continue to show changes that are consistent with a globally warming world, and our understanding of how the climate system works,” the Met Office report emphasizes in Part 1.
“Periods of slowing down and pauses in surface warming are not unusual in the instrumental temperature record,” the Met Office concludes in Part 2 of the report. “Climate model simulations suggest that we can expect such a period of a decade or more to occur at least twice per century, due to internal variability alone.” The Met Office in Part 2 adds that “ocean heat re-arrangements, with a contribution from changes in top of the atmosphere radiation, could be important for explaining the recent pause in global surface warming.”
In Part 3 of the report, the Met Office says “the recent pause in global surface temperature does not materially alter the risks of substantial warming of the Earth by the end of this century. Nor does it invalidate the fundamental physics of global warming, the scientific basis of climate models, and their estimates of climate sensitivity.”
All three parts of the report –– with lengths of 28, 22, and 19 pages — can be downloaded as PDF files here.