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The climate is changing. But it always has by David Whitehouse
Tuesday, October 19th 2010, 10:26 AM UTC
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
The global climate is changing. It always has. Fifteen thousand years ago the place where I am writing this (Hampshire, England) was Arctic tundra on which almost nothing could live. The glaciers reached not far north of here, and places that were to become Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow were under a kilometer of ice. When the ice receded Britain was completely covered in trees. That the trees are fewer was due to early man. That the ice is no longer here was due to natural climatic cycles.

Few doubt that the world has warmed in the past thirty years. We have reasonably good global temperature records for the past 150 years and, in general, they show a gradual warming, possibly from the cold spell in the 17th century some call the ‘Little Ice Age.’

Temperatures at a plateau

From 1850 to about 1910, the temperature did not change very much at a time when the world was somewhat colder than it is today. Between 1910 and 1940 there was a sustained warming, 0.4 deg C in 30 years. Then there was a period of 40 years when again the temperature did not change much. Just before1980 it started rising again, 0.4 deg C in 25 years, but this rise ceased in 2000. We live in the warmest decade for at least 150 years, probably longer, but in the last decade the global average annual temperature has remained at a plateau.

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On the face of it, today’s warm spell isn’t anything unusual. There is growing evidence that there was a so-called Medieval Warm Period about 800 years ago. In a recent research paper, Professor Michael Mann of Penn State University – of now discredited ‘hockey stick’ graph fame – admitted that the temperatures then could well be higher than today. It used to be thought that the Medieval Warm Period was confined to Europe, but there is now evidence it was more global.

There is also some evidence that a thousand years before the Medieval Warm Period, the so-called Roman Warm Period was just as warm, possibly warmer, as was possibly the Minoan Warm Period a 1,000 years before that. So, in absolute terms the recent warm spell is not historically extraordinary.

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