By RYAN GORMAN
A new study has scientists concerned that the recent slowing of global warming is only temporary and that temperatures are poised to resume dramatically rising.
Researchers cited lower-than-expected sun irradiance and fluctuations in the El Niño/La Niña cycles in the Pacific Ocean for the departure, but found both are expected to soon return to expected levels.
Researchers from ETH Zurich found that longer than normal solar cycles have led to lower than expected temperatures as a result of a weaker sun, according to the results of the study published in Science Daily.
Sun irradiance greatly affects the Earth's climate. It has been lower since the turn of the century than climate change models expected, partially explaining the lack of rising temperatures.
Sun spot cycles previously lasted 11 years but have, for an unknown reason, lasted 13 years during a period of weak irradiance. A number of volcanic eruptions have also launched significant amounts pollution into the air, further diluting the sun's effects on the planet, the study found.
Also possibly playing a role are the El Niño warming and La Niña cooling cycles in the Pacific Ocean, according to the team.
"1998 was a strong El Niño year, which is why it was so warm that year," said Reto Knutti, Professor of Climate Physics at ETH Zurich.
Significant gains in global warming science were made at the end of the last century, and many predictions were based on upward trending temperatures during the 1990s.
Knutti explained that the models did not take a strong La Niña in recent years coupled with lower sun irradiance joining forces to keep temperatures stable into account.
This combination is only a speed bump in the climate change steamroller.The models look deep into the future and do not account for these fluctuations.
"Short-term climate fluctuations can easily be explained," said Knutti. "They do not alter the fact that the climate will become considerably warmer in the long term as a result of greenhouse gas emissions."
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