Norwich (England) – Climatic Research Unit (CRU), a division of the University of East Anglia, is reporting that 2008 is the coldest year this decade, down 0.14 Celsius below the average from 2001-2007. They warn, however, that 2008 is still the tenth warmest year on record and despite being cooler does not indicate a cooling trend. Scientists are predicting a leveling off of temperature for the next six years or so, then an acceleration upward again after 2015.
The CRU is constantly updating its historical data to reflect realized errors in the relative recording methods used at the time. As such, they note that “This paper includes a new and more thorough assessment of errors, recognizing that these differ on annual and decadal timescales.” These should improve the accuracy of trends as the recording abilities of previous equipment is adjusted into closer calibration with modern readings.
Global warming to continue
According to the report, the 1990s represented the warmest complete decade since 1850, with a high in 1998 which was 0.55 Celsius above the 1961-1990 mean. Twelve of the thirteen warmest years have occurred in the past thirteen years, from 1995 to 2007. But even so, on average the 1990s were 0.21 Celsius cooler than the 2001-2007 timeframe (2008 excluded).
The study analyzed over 400 “proxy climate series” including trees, corals, ice cores and historical trends and has concluded that 1998 was the warmest year of the millennium, with 1601 being the coldest.