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Met Office: Global warming sceptics 'have heads in sand'

Recent chill just a blip, insist weather prophets

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The UK Met Office climate change bureau has issued a stinging attack on the idea that recent falls in global temperature might mean that global warming is over or has been exaggerated.

"Anyone who thinks global warming has stopped has their head in the sand," said an unnamed Met Office spokesman in a statement released online today. The statement goes on angrily:

Global warming does not mean that each year will be warmer than the last, natural phenomena will mean that some years will be much warmer and others cooler. You only need to look at 1998 to see a record-breaking warm year caused by a very strong El Niño. In the last couple of years, the underlying warming is partially masked caused [sic] by a strong La Niña.

The average global temperature has actually fallen a bit for the last two years, which has caused warmosceptics to suggest that the overall temperature rise since 1990 has been made too much of. The Met Office, which has also today released a pdf brochure entitled Global warming goes on, says that the falls of the last two years are no more than a temporary blip.

It might be possible to get the impression, reading the Reg, that there's a firm editorial policy at Vulture Central denying that climate change exists, that cutting carbon emissions would make sense even if it did, or even that oil will ever run out. However, there isn't any such policy. Rather, the Reg seems mainly to like being contrary*: and the Met Office, as a highly respected research institution, surely deserves to be heard on this matter.

That said, it's important to note that today's rather strident statement comes from the Met Office's subsidiary Hadley Centre, which exists purely to do climate change research. It is funded partly by the government and partly by taking fees from businesses to advise them on ways to cope with global warming.

If global warming has stopped or isn't very significant, therefore, everyone at the Hadley Centre is out of a job. Which might explain why they're so cross about the recent cooling. ®

Bootnote

* We on the vaguely-defence-related desk, for instance, would be unsurprised to see a big opinion piece soon saying that buying gas from Russia and oil from the Gulf will continue to have nothing but positive effects on Western society and its interactions with the rest of the world.

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