UK Met Office dismisses reports that global warming has stopped

The UK’s national meteorological office has dismissed media reports that its data suggests global warming has stopped.

The earth will warm a little less in the next ten years than previously predicted but long term warming continues, the Met Office has confirmed.

In a statement it said: “Temperatures will remain well above the long-term average and we will continue to see temperatures like those which resulted in 2000-2009 being the warmest decade in the instrumental record dating back to 1850.

“Small year to year fluctuations such as those that we are seeing in the shorter term five year predictions are expected due natural variability in the climate system, and have no sustained impact on the long term warming.”

Confusion arose after an update to its decadal climate model reduced its estimate for the period 2012-2016 from 0.54 to 0.43°C.

This was picked up by BBC Radio and the UK Daily Telegraph who reported that warming was at a ‘standstill’. The Met Office say this is incorrect.

Improvements to the Met Office climate model have reduced forecasted global temperatures but the changes do not deviate from the long term warming trend. (Source: Met Office)

These reports triggered an angry response on twitter with the Met Office criticised for not explaining the initial data release more clearly and for the delay in its clarification to the misrepresentation of the data.

The latest controversy comes after two leaks in two months of the next report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The first used a sentence explaining one proposed theory on cosmic rays as a source of warming to claim that AR5 endorsed the theory. Subsequent paragraphs in fact refuted it.

The second and most recent leak, features the entire IPCC draft. The IPCC has requested that link to the leaked draft not be circulated.

While its review process is undergone openly, widespread reporting of unfinished work is damaging, the organisation says.

The so-called AR5 document is the main input by climate scientists to the policy debate.

Climate sceptics have twice published drafts of AR5 and attempted to use portions of the unfinished work to discredit it. AR5 is not scheduled for release until the autumn.

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