It's a hard feat to cut rise in global heat

January 1, 2009

The Met Office has released early global temperature figures, in partnership with the University of East Anglia, showing that 2008 was the tenth warmest year since records began in 1850. The provisional mean global temperature for the year was 14.3C. All the ten warmest years have occurred since 1997, with global temperatures for the period 2000-08 standing almost 0.2C warmer than the average for 1990-99. Peter Stott of the Met Office said: "Human influence, particularly the emission of greenhouse gases, has greatly increased the chance of having such warm years. Comparing observations with the expected response to man-made and natural drivers of climate change, it is shown that global temperature is now over 0.7C warmer than if humans were not altering climate."

Climate scientists based at UEA's Climate Research Unit (CRU) help the Met Office maintain the global climate record on behalf of the World Meteorological Organization. The CRU's Phil Jones said 2008 had actually been slightly cooler than previous years because of the temperature of the sea. "The most important component of year-to-year variability in global average temperatures is the phase and amplitude of equatorial sea surface temperatures in the Pacific," he said.

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