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Global temperatures this year-2008, will be lower than in 2007 due to the cooling effect of the La Nina current in the Pacific, UN meteorologists have said.
The World Meteorological Organisation’s secretary-general, Michel Jarraud, told the BBC it was likely that La Nina would continue into the summer.
This would mean global temperatures have not risen since 1998, prompting some to question climate change theory.But experts have also forecast a record high temperature within five years.
La Nina and El Nino are two great natural Pacific currents whose effects are so huge they resonate round the world. El Nino warms the planet when it happens, La Nina cools it. This year, the Pacific is in the grip of a powerful La Nina.
It has contributed to torrential rains in
Australia and to some of the coldest temperatures in memory in snow-bound parts of . China
Increased sea temperatures on the western side of the Pacific means the atmosphere has more energy and frequency of heavy rain and thunderstorms is increased.Typically lasts for up to 12 months and generally less damaging event than the stronger El Nino.
Mr Jarraud told the BBC that the effect was likely to continue into the summer, depressing temperatures globally by a fraction of a degree. This would mean that temperatures have not risen globally since 1998 when El Nino warmed the world.
A minority of scientists question whether this means global warming has peaked and the earth has proved more resilient to greenhouse gases than predicted.But Mr Jarraud insisted this was not the case and noted that 1998 temperatures would still be well above average for the century.
“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.”
“La Nina is part of what we call ‘variability’. There has always been and there will always be cooler and warmer years, but what is important for climate change is that the trend is up.”
Experts at the UK Met Office’s Hadley Centre for forecasting in
said the world could expect another record temperature within five years or less, probably associated with another episode of El Nino. Exeter