'Greatest evidence ever seen' for global warming
THE world is "unequivocally" getter hotter, and has been for more than 30 years, according to the most comprehensive study of temperature readings from the top of the atmosphere to the bottom of the ocean.
The report, compiled by the Met Office in the UK and its US equivalent, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), provides the "greatest evidence we have ever had" to support global warming, its researchers say.
They forecast that this year will be the hottest on record, globally. Usually scientists rely on the temperature over land, taken from weather stations, to gauge climate change.
However, yesterday's State of the Climate report brings together data from 10 separate indicators stretching back 150 years, including measurements of sea-level rise taken from ships, the temperature of the upper atmosphere taken from weather balloons, and field surveys of melting glaciers.
New technology also means it is possible to measure the temperature of the oceans, which absorb 90pc of the world's heat.
Seven of the 10 areas measured had rising figures. These measurements included air and sea surface temperatures, the amount of heat in the ocean, and humidity. Three areas, Arctic sea ice, glaciers and winter snow cover in the northern hemisphere, were in decline.
According to the researchers, the study shows "unequivocally that the world is warming and has been for more than three decades".
And -- despite the cold winter in Europe and north-east America -- this year is set to be the hottest on record.
The NOAA has stated that the first six months of this year were the hottest on record, while the Met Office believes it is the second hottest start to the year after 1998.
Dr Peter Stott, head of climate monitoring and attribution at the Met Office, said "greenhouse gases are the glaringly obvious explanation" for the 0.56C rise in average global temperatures over the past 50 years.
"Despite the fact people say global warming has stopped, the new data, added on to existing data, gives us the greatest evidence we have ever had," he said.
Climate change sceptics have questioned global warming in the wake of the "climategate" scandal. It was claimed that emails stolen from the University of East Anglia show scientists were willing to manipulate the land-surface temperatures to show global warming. The scientists were later cleared in an independent inquiry.
But Dr Stott said that sceptics could no longer question land surface temperature as other records also prove the global warming phenomenon.
He said each indicator takes independent evidence from at least three different institutions. Despite variations from year to year, each decade has been warmer since the 1980s.
He said: "When we follow independent analyses from around the world, we see clear and unmistakable signs of a warming world." (© Daily Telegraph, London)