Leading Scientists Say Warming Slowdown Was Real
A group of prominent scientists has published a commentary faulting colleagues who have published papers downplaying or dismissing the significance of a 13-year slowdown in warming rates at the planet’s surface. “We shouldn’t sweep the early 2000s warming slowdown under the rug,” said Penn State meteorology professor Michael Mann, one of 11 authors of the commentary published in Nature Climate Change.
“The temporary slowdown in no way implies that human-caused warming has ceased or slowed down,” Mann added. “It was temporarily masked by natural factors.” Climate Central explains that several recent papers have called into question whether the surface warming slowdown was significant. “Some of the disagreements boil down to semantics; others relate to interpretations of data.”
John Fyfe, the lead author, said he had “no doubt” that the commentary would be misused by climate sceptics, but that he had no hesitations about publishing it. “I don’t think we should be in the business of pandering to the climate deniers.” The paper agreed that framing the slowdown as a “pause” or “hiatus” was “unfortunate” and that “reduced rate of warming” or “temporary slowdown” would be a better way to describe it.