New look at causes of global warming

Copyright 1998 Daily Telegraph
September 13, 1998

GLOBAL warming needs to be reassessed to take account of recently discovered natural long-term variation in the world's climate.

Statistics that seem to prove the world is undergoing global warming due to human activity fail to take into account that it has undergone much greater swings of temperature.

Prof David Bowen said: "I'm not saying warming hasn't taken place - we pulled out of a mini ice-age about 100 years ago - but the question is how much of global warming is due to natural variability and how much is due to people?"

Over the past 10 years, scientists have traced the world's climate back on annual, centennial and millennial time-scales by investigating Greenland ice cores.

Since last November, when the Journal of Geophysical Research devoted an issue to the investigation, many scientists believe global warming needs reassessing.

"This has completely changed the view of our climatic history," said Prof Bowen, of Cardiff University's virtual institute for environmental research.

"The present interglacial period which was previously thought to be fairly stable is now known to show considerable climate variability. Post-1850 we have had a little warming and a mini-ice age. In the 1990s we seem to have a little blip, but I am saying that we do not know if it is the result of human activity or a natural trend."

He added that changes in climate need to be taken into account to develop new models to investigate whether we are in a period of abnormal human-generated warming.

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