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From the start of 1997 until August 2012, however, figures released last week show the answer is zero: the trend, derived from the aggregate data collected from more than 3,000 worldwide measuring points, has been flat.Not that there has been any coverage in the media, which usually reports climate issues assiduously, since the figures were quietly release online with no accompanying press release – unlike six months ago when they showed a slight warming trend.
Here are three not-so trivial questions you probably won’t find in your next pub quiz.
Yet it has steadily become apparent since the 2008 crash that both the statistics and the modelling are extremely unreliable.
To plan the future around them makes about as much sense as choosing a wedding date three months’ hence on the basis of a long-term weather forecast. But decisions of far deeper and more costly significance than those derived from output figures have been and are still being made on the basis of climate predictions, not of the next three months but of the coming century – and this despite the fact that Phil Jones and his colleagues now admit they do not understand the role of ‘natural variability’.
Research: The new figures mean that the 'pause' in global warming has now lasted for about the same time as the previous period when temperatures rose, 1980 to 1996.
This picture shows an iceberg melting in Eastern Greenland Some climate scientists, such as Professor Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, last week dismissed the significance of the plateau, saying that 15 or 16 years is too short a period from which to draw conclusions. Professor Judith Curry, who is the head of the climate science department at America’s prestigious Georgia Tech university, told The Mail on Sunday that it was clear that the computer models used to predict future warming were ‘deeply flawed’.