Researchers at the Hadley Centre in Britain have produced the world’s first short range climate forecast, covering the next ten years. And there are no surprises, it’s going to get warmer. From New Scientist:
Although average global temperatures have been relatively flat in recent years, the model says they will start rising again next year. At least half of the years between 2009 and 2015 will exceed the current warmest year on record. By 2015, global temperatures will be 0.5 Â°C above the average value for the last 30 years.
The forecasts, prepared by Doug Smith and colleagues using the Decadal Climate Prediction System (DePreSys), are reported in a new paper in Science. DePreSys fills the gap between weather forecasts, which are good for about two weeks at best, and climate modelling, which aims to predict climate many decades in the future. The near term predictions are only possible because scientists are collecting much better information about ocean heat content and how it moves around the globe. Smith and his team have created a global ocean database that can be used to initialise, or start up the model, allowing it to track likely near term global changes.
This is an exciting development, because good near term predictions will be immensely valuable in helping the world to plan adaptive strategies for the warming that’s clearly on its way. Decadal climate forecasting and improvements in regional climate projections are going to be the focus of a lot of research in coming years. Watch this space.
Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Washington reckon they’ve found a clear statistical link between variations in the sun’s energy output over the 11-year solar cycle and changes in global average temperature [New Scientist: subscribers only].
Ka-Kit Tung and colleague Charles Camp, both of the University of Washington in Seattle, analysed satellite data on solar radiation and surface temperatures over the past 50 years, covering four-and-a-half solar cycles. They found that global average temperatures oscillated by almost 0.2 Â°C between high and low points in the cycle, nearly twice the amplitude of previous estimates [GRL].
We’re currently close to a solar minimum, so that would imply an â€œextra