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Don’t Believe the Hype, Global Warming hasn’t Stopped

Some people have recently been stating that global warming is over, or at least slowing down. Texas Senator Ted Cruz recently declared that the Earth has not warmed since 1998, and Fox News last year reported that global warming had stopped.

Global warming sceptics often pounce on statements like this, and use these arguments to try and cloud the real facts about the state of global warming. It is true that the current rate of warming has slowed, scientists accept it, however the reasons for the slowdown are temporary, a result of natural climate variation that will quickly reverse and send temperatures climbing upwards at a faster rate once more.

The problem is that the term global warming never refers to a relentless increase in temperature year on year, so having a few years of steady temperatures does not disprove the theory. Jerry Meehl, from the National Centre for Atmospheric Research, explained that “there’s always more than one thing going on in the climate system.” So some years might be hotter than normal, and others cooler, but according to the World Meteorological Organisation each decade since the 1950s has been hotter than the previous.

Mother Jones explains that global warming occurs due to an energy imbalance on the Earth. Greenhouse gases prevent heat from escaping the atmosphere, so more heat is absorbed by the planet, than is released back out into space. When people think about global warming they usually think of the air temperature, but actually only a tiny fraction of the heat remains in the atmosphere, the majority (93%) is absorbed by the oceans.

Related article: Politics has Doomed the Climate Change Debate

According to a leaked report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) the rate at which the planet’s surface temperature warms up has fallen over the past 15 years, and from here the stem the claims that global warming is over. However, the oceans, the main indicator of changing temperatures, continue to warm up.

Sydney Levitus, an oceanographer from the University of Maryland, said that “the important thing in terms of climate change is that the world ocean has continued to store heat.” He also calculated that if all heat energy absorbed by the oceans from 1955 to 2010 were to be released into the atmosphere, the global air temperature would increase by around 18.3 °C.

Anthony Broccoli, a climate researcher at Rutgers University, explained that “you might think of the atmosphere as the tail, and the ocean being the dog, as far as heat is concerned. Although the tail may wag around a little, what it's really doing is following the dog.”

Scientists explain the slowdown in the rising surface temperature to be a result of several factors, including more heat being absorbed deeper into the oceans, a reduction in solar activity, and more active volcanos; all of which help to reduce temperature in some form or another.

By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com

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  • Ghonadz on August 31 2013 said:
    There is no "cooling", as one clueless commenter claims. The Earth continues to take in more solar energy than it is able to re-radiate away into space. Most (90%+) of the excess heat energy has always been going into the oceans. Because of multiple prolonged La Niña events and other ocean cycles, more of the excess heat has been transported to the ocean depths this last decade than was the case in the preceding several decades. This, along with the prolonged and deep solar minimum and the increased levels of relective volcanic and industrial aerosols in the stratosphere, are what has caused a slowdown in the rate of increase in surface temperatures only. As a whole the planet has continued to get hotter at the same rate as before or possibly even faster. Mankind has increased atmospheric levels of CO2 by over 40% so yes, Greg, "we are the driving force behind the climate" changes and the warming that is causing those changes. Denying reality, as the rightwingnut stooges for fossil fuel industry profits try to do, does not alter the mountains of scientific evidence of a warming planet.
  • Glenroy on August 30 2013 said:
    Global warming while it continues to cool....only a liberal would believe that.
  • Greg on August 30 2013 said:
    Come on, when all the people on Earth could live in two bedroom condos and occupy less the than the area of the state of Texas ( 0.15% of the total Earth area ), and land only pokes through the water on +/- 30% of the Earth's surface, you expect us to believe that WE are the driving force behind the climate?
    Kind of like saying we can prevent an asteroid from colliding with the Earth by paying more taxes isn't it? Of course the oceans will control what happens to global temperatures. Last I checked, most people live on land and as far as I can see they have negligible influence on what mother nature has in mind for us. Maybe we should encourage the settlement of the oceans.
    Cheers, Greg
  • Steve Goddard on August 30 2013 said:
    Temperatures are running far below all 96 models the IPCC uses, indicating that consensus climate scientists don't understand the climate.

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