December 16, 2008

2008 Coolest Year In Over A Decade

While 2008 will be recorded as one of the coolest years in the past decade, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said it is also the 10th warmest since records began in 1850.

The global mean temperature for 2008 was 14.3 degrees Celsius (57.7 degrees Fahrenheit), reported climate scientists at the UK's Met Office Hadley Center and Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, who compiled data for the WMO, said.

The 10 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1997, according to the WMO.

"Human influence, particularly emission of greenhouse gases, has greatly increased the chance of having such warm years," the Met Office's Peter Stott said in a statement.

"Comparing observations with the expected response to man-made and natural drivers of climate change, it is shown that global temperature is now over 0.7 degrees Celsius warmer than if humans were not altering the climate."

Without human-induced global warming we would be 50 times less likely to see a year as warm as this year, Stott said.

"Globally this year would have been considered warm, even as recently as the 1970s or 1980s, but a scorcher for our Victorian ancestors," said Oxford University's Myles Allen.

Global temperatures vary annually according to natural cycles. Chillier weather this year is partly because of a global weather pattern called La Nina that follows a periodic warming effect called El Nino.


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