Monday, November 19th 2012, 4:36 AM EST
It's bizarre to watch the UK Met Office squirm as it desperately tries to maintain an ideological position in the face of conflicting evidence. I never would have believed that such a formerly respected institution, scientific impartiality at its core, could be so compromised by a political agenda.
Instead of simply reporting on new developments in climate, they must instead be spun in order to bolster the case for political action. Such is the case today, where Peter Stott grudgingly concedes that temperatures have fallen in the past couple of years, but surrounds it with caveats and "yes, buts" in order to make sure The Cause™ is not diluted (see highlights below):
THE world's climate has cooled during last year and this year, temperature data from Britain's Met Office reveals -- just before this year's talks on cutting global greenhouse gas emissions.
The figures show that, although global temperatures are still well above the long-term average, they have fallen since the record seen in 2010.
The findings could prove politically sensitive, coming ahead of the UN's climate summit in Doha, Qatar, where the global system for regulating greenhouse gas emissions faces collapse. The threat comes because the Kyoto Treaty, under which developed nations pledged to cut their carbon emissions, expires at the end of this year. Doha is seen as the last hope of securing an extension.
In such a febrile situation, any data casting doubt on climate scientists' predictions is potentially explosive.
The World Meteorological Organisation, which oversees the publication of climate trend data from the four main global centres, including the British Met Office, has been strongly criticised for its policy of releasing such data just before the UN's key annual summits.
"In the past two years we have seen a slight decline in temperature," said Peter Stott, the Met Office's head of climate monitoring and attribution.
"However, it is such a short period that it is scientifically meaningless. Climate change can only be measured over decades -- and the records show that the world has warmed by 0.75C over the past century."
The Met Office figures show that, for the first 10 months of this year, global temperatures averaged 14.43C; 2010 was significantly hotter at 14.54C.
Dr Stott says the heat of 2010 was caused by an El Nino event, where warm water currents in the Pacific released unusual amounts of heat into the atmosphere.
"It is a natural short-term fluctuation and nothing to do with climate change," he said.
The longer-term record shows global temperatures have hardly risen for about 15 years. But Dr Stott said the key point was that they had remained consistently above the long-term average. (source)
In fact, the print edition of The Australian includes a further sentence, which reveals the Met Office's bias even more clearly:
"This is why the Arctic icecap is melting and extreme weather events are increasing."
That could have been written by Greenpeace or the WWF. No mention of the increasing ice in the Antarctic or the fact that no link from "extreme weather" to climate change has been established - even by the IPCC. The claim has no factual basis and is pure environmental ideology.
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