Climate science

Met Office puts high odds on the next few years being warmer than 2014

  • 30 Jan 2015, 14:20
  • Roz Pidcock

Expect to see more global temperature records tumble over the next few years, suggests the Met Office's new forecast. Global average surface temperatures during 2015 to 2019 are expected to stay high, with a good chance of beating 2014 for the hottest year on record.

Every year the Met Office releases what's called a "decadal forecast". It's designed to give us an idea of what we can expect in the next few years.

It's new forecast, released online this week, says global temperature out to 2019 is expected to be in the range of 0.18 and 0.46 degrees Celsius above the long-term average.

This means we're likely to see the mercury climb higher than in 2014, which saw a global temperature of 0.26 degrees Celsius above the long-term average.

Decadal forecasts

Decadal forecasts, also known as "near-term" forecasts, take into account natural fluctuations in the climate, as well as human influences.

The Met Office predicts global temperature over the next five years will be between 0.18 and 0.46 degrees above the 1981-2010 average. That's 0.76 to 1.04 degrees above pre-industrial temperature.

The graph below shows the new Met Office forecast (blue shading) and real-world surface temperatures (black line), including the most recent data for 2014.

Met Office Decadal 2015Observed global surface temperature (black line) and Met Office decadal forecast for 2015-2019 (blue shading) relative to 1981-2010. Previous predictions are shown in red. 22 model simulations from CMIP5 that have not been initialised with current observations are shown in green. Source: Met Office decadal forecast  2015-2019

The new forecast slightly edges up global temperatures expected over the next few years, compared to last year's forecast for 2014 to 2018. That one predicted global temperatures between 0.18 and 0.43 above the long-term average. But the difference is very small.

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New US poll shows gap between scientists, the public, and politicians on climate change

  • 30 Jan 2015, 12:30
  • Mat Hope

The US Congress  set up a showdown with the Barack Obama yesterday over the approval of the  controversial Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.

Most members of Congress argue it's necessary for the country's energy security. The president is concerned about the impact that extracting, transporting, and burning the oil could have on climate change.

New polling data shows the vast majority of the US's scientists and growing numbers of the public share the president's concern about how human activity may impact climate change. It suggests that the views of politicians are increasingly at odds with the country's climate scientists.

Causes of climate change

Growing numbers of US adults attribute climate change to human activities, new data from the  Pew Research Centre shows. But there's a big discrepancy between the public, politicians, and scientists' views on climate change.

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 11.04.43.png
Sources: Public and scientists,  Pew Research Centre. Congress, the  Centre for American Progress. Graph by Carbon Brief.

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UK flooding pushes public acceptance of manmade climate change to five-year high

  • 29 Jan 2015, 00:01
  • Robert McSweeney

There is growing public acceptance of the human contribution to climate change, according to a new study published today. The latest results from a national survey show public agreement that humans are causing climate change is at its highest level for 5 years.

The researchers also find that those affected by the UK winter floods in 2013-14 were significantly more likely to be concerned about climate change than those that weren't affected.

Public acceptance

A year on from the major winter flooding in the UK, the new study led by Cardiff University sheds new light on public perception of climate change. Researchers interviewed 1,002 people across the country about their views on climate change and the floods.

The results of the survey show almost nine in 10 respondents said the world's climate is changing (88 per cent), and more than eight in 10 said human activity was at least partly the cause (84 per cent). This represents the highest level of acceptance that the climate is changing since surveys began asking the question in 2005. More than a third (36 per cent) said that climate change is mainly or entirely caused by humans, which is the most agreement on the human impact on climate change since the question was first included in comparative surveys in 2010.

Capstick Et Al (2015) Is The Climate Changing

Responses from this and previous surveys to the question 'As far as you know, do you personally think the world's climate is changing?'. Source: Capstick et al. (2015).

Capstick Et Al (2015) Causes Of Climate Change

Responses from this and previous surveys to the question 'Thinking of the causes of climate change, which best described your opinion?'. Source: Capstick et al. (2015).

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