Earlier this year, DailyTech ignited a firestorm of debate with a pair of articles that demonstrated global temperatures had dipped sharply, along with predictions from scientists that the trend would continue. The stories were picked up by hundreds of other news agencies and blogs; some even accused us of chicanery and fraud.
Now, the United Nations World Meteorological Association has somewhat ruefully weighed in to agree with what climate researchers have been saying all year: global temperatures have indeed dropped, and are expected to continue to do so throughout most of 2008. The cool spell means global temperatures have been on the decline for a full ten years, since early 1998.
WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud chalks up the cooling to La Nina effects, and says it doesn't mean global warming isn't a serious problem. "When you look at climate change you should not look at any particular year," he said. "You should look at trends over a pretty long period and the trend of temperature globally is still very much indicative of warming." Adam Scaife, lead scientist at the UK's Hadley Center for Climate Modeling, says he's confident that "within a few years" a new record temperature will be set.
However, some are calling the UN's stance nothing but spin control. Paleoclimatologist Bob Carter of James Cook University says the IPCC is in "full panic mode" and positioning themselves to "explain away" declining temperatures. Lord Monckton of Brenchley, science advisor to the Thatcher administration and a regular commentator on climate issues, tells DailyTech none of the IPCC's computer models can explain a decade of cooling.
Monckton, who considers the reporting on global warming to be the latest in a lengthy list of "needless and scientifically unjustified" environmental scares, says warming "may resume in future years [but] is self-evidently less than official forecasts, and very likely to be harmless."
Regardless of the cause, many are hoping the cooling ends soon. The past year saw dozens of nations struggle through record low temperatures and massive amounts of snowfall. If the trend doesn't reverse quickly, next year will be even more bitterly cold.