Climate change may slow down during ten next years

This is the conclusion of studies done by German climate scientists. This would be due to the slowing activity of the Gulf Stream (pictured left) in both Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

This might be a very good news for all us that shouldn’t be seen as a proof that climate change is a scam or that the current mitigation is already working.

To me this is just a huge opportunity for us all to work harder and faster to cut our greenhouse gases emissions as Nature is giving us some more time.

As the Agence France Presse states it in a press release :

Global warming could take a break in the next decade thanks to a natural shift in ocean circulations, although Earth’s temperature will rise as previously expected over the longer term, according to a study published on Thursday in the British journal Nature.

Climate scientists in Germany base the prediction on what they believe is an impending change in the Gulf Stream — the conveyor belt that transports warm surface water from the tropical Atlantic to the northern Atlantic and returns cold water southwards at depth.

The Gulf Stream will temporarily weaken over the next decade, in line with what has happened regularly in the past, the researchers say.

This will lead to slightly cooler temperatures in the North Atlantic and in North America and Europe, and also help the temperatures in the tropical Pacific to remain stable, they suggest.

Last year, scientists in the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said that by 2100, global average surface temperatures could rise by between 1.1 C and 6.4 C (1.98 and 11.52 F) compared to 1980-99 levels.

In the next 20 years alone, the global climate would warm by around 0.2 degrees Celsius (0.36 degrees Fahrenheit) per decade, the IPCC said.

(…) Climate experts have long warned, though, that warming is unlikely to be a gradual trend, but a movement in stops and starts.

The main reason for this is that the oceans — the biggest store of heat — go through natural cycles of circulation.

The long churning of the seas can have a far-reaching effect, sometimes delaying for years the moment when the stored warmth is released at the surface.

The authors of the new study stress that they do not dispute the IPCC’s figures.

“Just to make things clear, we are not stating that anthropogenic [man-made] climate change won’t be as bad as previously thought,” said Mojib Latif, a professor at the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences in Kiel, northern Germany.

“What we are saying is that on top of the warming trend, there is a long-periodic oscillation that will probably lead to a lower temperature increase than we would expect from the current trend during the next years.”

Fellow author Johann Jungclaus of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, likened the trend to “driving from the coast to a mountainous area and crossing some hills and valleys before you reach the top.”

In some years, the natural long-term variation in ocean circulation would work in the other direction, temporarily pushing on the warming accelerator, Jungclaus warned.

In a commentary also published by Nature, Richard Wood, a scientist at Britain’s Hadley Centre for climate change, said it was useful to get some idea about the jagged variability of global warming.

Such information could be precious for planners seeking to beef up protection against the impact of climate change, and who need to know when these expensive defences have to be completed.

But Wood queried the study’s focus on the Gulf Stream, saying its turnover was affected not just by temperature but also by saltiness.

The salinity of water entering the North Atlantic is being affected by meltwater running off Greenland glaciers and Siberian permafrost, and some research suggests this is already slowing the conveyor belt.

As I was stating on Lamarguerite’s blog which brought me the news :

it is a chance for us to do our best to mitigate climate change during this period. And basically, if the global temperature doesn’t increase, it doesn’t mean that locally it won’t heat up. Example, the Arctic and Antarctic.

And you, what do you think about these researches ? Do they give you hope ?

En Français :

2 thoughts on “Climate change may slow down during ten next years”

  1. Thanks my friend for commenting, it is always nice to see you drop by ! 🙂

    Me too, I am a little scared that some nations might invoke this as an excuse for doing nothing… but WE can act by disseminating the information !

    edit : even if temperature rise slowly than previously forecast, GHG emissions will keep on rising… which would worsen the situation…

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