Temperatures rising again

30th September 2015

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Jenni Murphy

Global temperatures are rising again, with the Earth's average surface temperature running at or near record levels in 2015, according to research from the Met Office.

The study says the big changes in key patterns in the global climate system will affect regional temperature and rainfall worldwide, and have already weakened the Indian monsoon and caused fewer Atlantic hurricanes this year.

The shifts in key global climate patterns, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), an El Niño in the tropical Pacific and the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO) will also affect global temperature. El Niño and the PDO are entering a warming phase, while the AMO is moving into a cooling phase, says the research. The AMO will influence northern Europe, including the UK, and could result in cooler, drier summers.

The El Niño that is under way is expected to be the strongest since 1998 and will raise global mean surface temperatures, probably ending the relatively flat readings of the 15 years to 2013. Professor Adam Scaife, who led the study, said the changes suggest both 2015 and 2016 are likely to be very warm globally.

"Although we can't say for sure that the slowdown in global warming is over, global temperatures are now rising again," he said. The Met Office reports that global mean surface temperature for the first nine months of 2015 was between 0.38°C and 0.14°C above the average for the period between 1981-2010, which in turn was between 0.68°C and 0.14°C above the 1961-1990 average.

Professor Stephen Belcher, head of the Met Office Hadley Centre, said: "We know natural patterns contribute to global temperature in any given year, but the very warm temperatures so far this year indicate the continued impact of increasing greenhouse gases. With the potential that next year could be similarly warm, it's clear that our climate continues to change."


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