2005 will be the second or third warmest year globally on record. The prediction comes as climate concerns build among people in polar and low-lying areas and in the insurance and utility industries. “Whether it is second or third depends on how Siberia reacts between now and the end of the year,” said Wayne Elliott, a spokesman for Britain’s weather service, the Met Office. “1998 was the warmest ever, 2005 is looking at being second. It will be another very warm year generally, which is in line with global climate change research.”
The Met Office bases its measurements on both land and sea temperatures. After 1998, the four hottest years globally were the last four years, according to Met Office data going back to 1861. The second hottest year was 2002, followed by 2003, 2004 and 2001. In Europe, Portugal and Spain have experienced their worst droughts ever recorded, and further east, floods and torrential rain drenched Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria and Romania.
“The vast majority of scientists would now say that there is a significant, substantial human effect on the environment,” said Craig Hutton, project manager at the GeoData Institute, University of Southampton. “I think that’s good enough to get on and start to plan in reality for the effects of climate change.” Southampton University is working with IBM to research a early warning system for UK flood responses, to anticipate storm and tidal surges.
Researchers from the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre and NASA reported last month that human-induced global warming was at least partially responsible the shrinking of the Arctic ice cap, which has melted for the fourth straight year to its smallest area in a century. If the shrinking trend continues at its present rate of 8 per cent a year, there could be no ice at all at the pole as early as the summer of 2060. (Reuters, Oct. 15)
However, liberals who feel guilty about driving SUVs are officially absolved by their guru Alexander Cockburn, who writes in his Oct. 31 column in The Nation: “I don’t believe in any effective role of man-made CO2 in global warming, a natural cyclical trend.” The piece, “The Virtues of Gas Guzzling,” urges consumers to fill up at Citgo, owned by the Venezuelan state. However, Cockburn’s apparent hero Hugo Chavez, does not share his view on the “natural” nature of global warming, as we have noted, and more than once.