2010 Projected To Be Hottest Year on Record
Next year to be the world’s warmest on record, Met Office predicts
Timesonline (U.K.), Dec. 11, 2009
Next year is “more likely than not” to be the world’s warmest year on record and man-made climate change will be a factor, according to the Met Office.
It said that natural weather patterns would contribute less to next year’s temperature than they did in 1998, the current warmest year in the 160-year record.
El Niño effect, the cyclical heating of the Pacific Ocean, is much weaker than it was in 1998 but the Met Office expects the warming effect of greenhouse gas emissions to more than make up the difference.
It announced at the Copenhagen climate change summit that it expected the global average temperature next year to be almost 0.6C warmer than the 1961 to 1990 average. It forecast an annual average of 14.58C compared with 14.52C in 1998.
If the forecast proves correct it will be a significant blow to climate change sceptics, many of whom base their arguments on the fact that the temperature has not returned to the 1998 peak. Despite wrongly predicting a “barbecue summer” this year, the Met Office claims to have a good record of accurately predicting global temperatures.
It correctly predicted that this year would be 0.44C warmer than the long-term average, making it the fifth-warmest year on record. However, it wrongly forecast that 2007 would be the warmest year. It turned out to be the sixth-warmest.
The Met Office also confirmed yesterday that it expected half the years between 2010 and 2019 to be warmer than 1998.
It sounded a note of caution, saying that a record year in 2010 was not a certainty, especially if the current El Niño began to decline earlier than normal or there was a large volcanic eruption.
Ben Stewart, of Greenpeace, said: “If 2010 turns out to be the hottest year on record it might go some way towards exploding the myth, spread by the climate conspiracy theorists, that we’re experiencing global cooling.
“In reality the world is getting hotter, possibly a lot hotter, and humans are causing it.”
The Global Warming Policy Foundation, which claims man-made climate change has been exaggerated, accused the Met Office of making a “political intervention” in the international negotiations taking place in Copenhagen. It said: “Suggestions by the Met Office that a warming trend will resume in the next year or two should be treated with reserve in light of the recognised difficulties in making such confident predictions.”
Copyright 2009 Times Newspapers Ltd.
Next year forecast to be hottest on record
The Independent (U.K.), Dec. 11, 2009
Prediction contradicts sceptics' claim that warming stopped in 1998
Global warming will resume its upward climb again next year, the UK Met Office predicted yesterday at the UN
The "central estimate" of their forecast is that the global average surface temperature for 2010 will be 0.58 degrees C above the long-term average for 1961-1990 (which is 14 degrees C), compared to the average for 1998, which was 0.52 degrees above.
If a new hottest year is indeed recorded, it will undermine the argument of climate change sceptics that the actual warming of the atmosphere ceased in 1998. Earlier this week the head of the World Meteorological Organisation, Michel Jarraud, insisted the world was "still in a warming trend". The new record is likely to be broken, the Met Office said, because of a combination of global warming and El Nino, the periodic, natural warming of the waters of the eastern tropical Pacific, which is currently pushing up world temperatures.
In 1998, the record was established because the El Nino of that year was the strongest ever seen. But 2010 is likely to top it, climate scientists believe, even though the present El Nino, which began this summer and is likely to extend to next spring, is much less strong than its 1998 equivalent, and is regarded merely as "moderate".
This implies that global warming will play an even stronger role in the average temperature out-turn for next year, although the natural variability of the climate will also play a part.
A record warm year in 2010 is not a certainty, the Met Office statement said, especially if the current El Nino was to decline rapidly near the start of 2010, or there were a large volcanic eruption, such as that of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991, whose vast dust cloud, ejected into the stratosphere, cooled the global climate for several years.
But there is considered to be more than a 90 per cent chance that it will be hotter than 2009, which is likely to turn out to be the fifth hottest year in the global record, with an excess above the 1961-1990 average of 0.44 degrees - something the Met Office predicted precisely in its 2009 global forecast, issued a year ago.
Since the Met Office began forecasting global temperatures 10 years ago, the average error in the predictions has been 0.06 of a degree - so even if the forecast of 0.58 above the baseline were out by that much, 2010 would still turn out to be joint hottest with 1998. The UK Met Office is still suffering some public unpopularity for having forecast, last April, that Britons would enjoy "a barbecue summer", when - although average temperatures were considerably up on 2008 - July turned out to be one of the wettest on record.
Asked why the public should trust next year's global forecast when the summer forecast was wrong - as the Met Office admitted - Dr Vicky Pope, the head of climate advice, said it was much easier to predict the global temperature that a national temperature average. "Forecasting for the whole globe over the whole year means that the forecast is less influenced by the vagaries of small-scale regional variability," she said. "Global forecasting has a very high level of success compared to similar forecasts for the UK."
She added that the Met Office was by no means predicting a "barbecue year". "A warmeratmosphere holds more moisture, so in fact there would be likely to be more rain," she said.
( c) 2009 Independent News and Media