Not so hot
The year 2008 will be the coolest of this decade, scientists tell us. But the same scientists hasten to add that the low temperatures are "absolutely not" an indication that we should question the danger of global warming. "If we are going to understand climate change we need to look at long-term trends," says Dr. Peter Stott.
Good idea; let's look at the long-term trends. The hike in worldwide temperatures during the last 20 years is well within the normal range of variations that has been evident for centuries. Yes, the past decade has been warmer than most. But then the period from 1900- 1910 was cooler than most. These fluctuations happen. In fact drop in world temperatures from 1900-1910 was more pronounced-- in terms of deviation from the norm-- than the rise in temperatures from 1995- 2005. In 1911, with global temperatures hitting record lows, were scientists warning about a new Ice Age? I wasn't around at the time, but I don't think so.
Yes, it's the long term that matters. So the fact that temperatures fell this year (and last year too) should not lead people to believe that we've passed the peak of the global heat wave-- any more than in 1913, after a couple of years of rising temperatures, people could have safely assumed that the coldest years were behind them.
Still it might be worth noticing that if you had made such a hasty prediction in 1913, you would have been right.
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