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Video: Slower temperature rise does not mean global warming has stopped

  • 10 Jan 2013, 11:00
  • Roz Pidcock

Natural and human influences are affecting the world's climate. As a new video shows, if you subtract natural influences on global temperature over the last 30 years - leaving only the human influence - there's a steady warming trend. In other words, human-caused global warming hasn't slowed or stopped.

When thinking about climate change, it's important to differentiate between natural and human influences. Natural fluctuations, like small changes in solar radiation, volcanic eruptions and ocean circulation patterns, can affect global temperatures from one year to the next by producing a short-lived warming or a cooling effect.

At the moment, natural fluctuations in the climate are combining to produce a strong cooling effect that is partially offsetting the full extent of warming caused by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. But human activity is still causing global warming - that hasn't gone away.

As this video by climate science blog Skeptical Science shows, if you take out all the natural influences on global temperature that have occurred the last 30 years, leaving just the human component, you can see a steady warming trend. In other words, there is no evidence that human-induced global warming has slowed down.

What's more, as soon as the natural factors that are causing a cooling effect weaken or reverse - and they will - the global temperature is likely to rise much faster again.

The fact that natural factors can affect global temperature from year to year is why scientists look at several decades of data rather than just a few years, to see what's really happening to the climate.

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