Brace for more scorching days ahead this year as scientists have warned that 2017 is going to be one of the hottest years on record. Scientists at Yale University in the US have come up with a new method that predicts global mean temperature.
The researchers blamed weak El Nino activity from 1998 until 2013 as the root cause for slower rates of increased surface temperature, rather than a pause in long-term global warming. Also, volcanic activity played only a minor role, they said.
“From a practical perspective, our method, when combined with El Nino prediction, allows us to predict next-year global mean temperature,” said Alexey Fedorov, professor at Yale University.
“Accordingly, 2017 will remain among the hottest years of the observational record, perhaps just a notch colder than 2016 or 2015,” Fedorov said.
Year-to-year variations in global mean temperature get affected through El Nino events, that modulate the heat released from tropical oceans into the atmosphere, researchers said.
While El Nino makes the atmosphere warm, La Nina (cold phase of the phenomenon) makes the atmosphere cool.
The new model closely mirrors global mean surface temperature (GMST) changes since 1880, including the so-called global warming hiatus and the more recent temperature rise.“Our main conclusion is that global warming never went away, as one might imply from the term ‘global warming hiatus,’” Fedorov said.
“The warming can be masked by inter-annual and decadal natural climate variability, but then it comes back with a vengeance,” said Fedorov.
In the 1980s and 1990s, multiple strong El Nino events took place, followed by much weaker El Nino activity, which lasted until 2014.
“The recent rapid rise in global temperature mainly resulted from the prolonged 2014-2016 El Nino conditions in the tropics that reached an extreme magnitude in the winter of 2015,” said Shineng Hu, first author of the study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
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“The corresponding heat release into the atmosphere, together with the ongoing background global warming trend, made 2014, 2015, and 2016 the three consecutive warmest years of the instrumental record so far,” Hu said.