A fifteen year pause in global warming has been puzzling scientists in recent years, but researchers are now claiming to have cracked the puzzle. Shaun Lovejoy, who authored the piece on the so-called hiatus in global warming, says that the lack of significant warming in recent years, despite the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, was cause by the interruption of a natural cooling event.

Global warming

The paper, which is titled Return periods of global climate fluctuations and the pause, was included in the Geophysical Research Letters scientific journal, which is published by Wiley. The paper has not yet appeared in a physically published version of the journal and is included in the Wiley online library as an early look at the research.

Global cooling is a separate, and equal force

There was, according to the research, a wave of global cooling over the last fifteen years which masked the effects of global warming on our blue planet. The cooling event, which Mr. Lovejoy refers to as a “a natural cooling fluctuation,” is of a type that appears to affect the planet once every 20 to 50 years, according to the research. The study involved the use of a statistical methodology developed by Mr. Lovejoy in two recently published papers.

According to the scientist, “The pause thus has a convincing statistical explanation.” Whether or not that is considered to be true will be decided by a lengthy peer-review process that the paper is sure to be subjected to. There has been a global cooling effect amounting to between 0.28 and 0.37 degrees in the last fifteen years according to the research.

Lovejoy’s research involved the use of his own statistical model to study the fluctuations in global temperature over the industrial period. The increase in temperature that was recorded in the four years leading up to the hiatus, according to the research, shows that global warming was still taking place, it was just masked by a period of global cooling which has been more significant in magnitude in the intervening years.

Global warming controversy continues

The lack of significant global warming in the last fifteen years has fueled the rhetoric of so-called climate-change deniers, those that refuse to believe that global warming has been caused by a man-made release of carbon dioxide. In the last fifteen years a huge amount of greenhouse gas has ended up in the atmosphere, yet little warming has been noticed as a result. This study claims to have explained that effect, but the research will have to be backed by more than a single paper before it will be widely accepted by the scientific community, or civilian opponents to the idea of climate change.

This research concludes that global warming is still a problem, but the efficacy of the statistical model will have to be tested in a more complete way before its conclusions are accepted. Mr. Lovejoy says that his model is already being used to analyze precipitation trends and regional variation in climate.