Britain's Met Office data confirms record drop in global temperatures

Global sea temperatures drop and record snow falls across Europe, Asia and USA

New official data issued by the Met Office confirms that world average temperatures have plummeted since the middle of the year at a faster and steeper rate than at any time in the recent past.

The huge fall follows a report by this newspaper that temperatures had cooled after a record spike. Our story showed that these record high temperatures were triggered by naturally occurring but freak conditions caused by El Nino - and not, as had been previously suggested, by the cumulative effects of man-made global warming.

The Mail on Sunday's report was picked up around the world and widely attacked by green propagandists as being 'cherry-picked' and based on 'misinformation'. The report was, in fact, based on NASA satellite measurements of temperatures in the lower atmosphere over land - which tend to show worldwide changes first, because the sea retains heat for longer. 

It is true that the massive 2015-16 El Nino - probably the strongest ever seen - took place against a steady warming trend, most of which scientists believe has been caused by human CO2 emissions

However, now the drop in temperature is also showing up in the authoritative Met Office 'Hadcrut4' surface record, compiled from measurements from more than 3,000 weather stations located around the world on both sea and land.

To the end of October, the last month for which figures have been released, Hadcrut4 had fallen about 0.5C from its peak in the spring.

The reason is the end of El Nino. The natural phenomenon, which takes place every few years and has a huge impact on world weather, occurs when water in a vast area of the Pacific west of Central America gets up to 3C hotter than usual.

                                       © JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images
                                 Stockholm had its snowiest November day in 111 years.

It has now been replaced by a weak La Nina, when the water becomes colder than usual. This means temperatures may still have some way to fall.

El Nino is not caused by greenhouse gases and has nothing to do with climate change. It is true that the massive 2015-16 El Nino - probably the strongest ever seen - took place against a steady warming trend, most of which scientists believe has been caused by human emissions.

But when El Nino was triggering new records earlier this year, some downplayed its effects. For example, the Met Office said it contributed 'only a few hundredths of a degree' to the record heat. The size of the current fall suggests that this minimised its impact. When February produced a new hot record for that month, at the very peak of El Nino, newspapers in several countries claimed that this amounted to a 'global climate emergency', and showed the world was 'hurtling' towards the point when global warming would become truly dangerous. Now, apparently, the immediate threat has passed. It would be just as misleading to say lower temperatures caused by La Nina meant the world was into a new long-term cooling.

The Mail on Sunday's report was picked up around the world and widely attacked by green propagandists as being 'cherry-picked' and based on 'misinformation'

But the big question is: what will happen when both El Nino and La Nina are over and the Pacific water returns to its 'neutral', average state?

Professor Judith Curry, of Georgia Tech in Atlanta, who is president of the Climate Forecast Applications Network, said it would take years before it was clear whether the long-term warming trend was slowing down, staying the same or accelerating.

'The bottom line is that we can't read too much into the temperatures of a year or two,' she said. 'We will need the perspective of another five years to understand what is going on.'

Full story by David Rose in Mail on Sunday, 11 December 2016

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Climate change and pollution in the Oceans

Almost Half of the World's Ocean Life Has Died Off Since 1970

The oceans are a massive expanse of salty water that sustain our planet. They generate half of Earth’s oxygen and suck up harmful CO2 created by burning fossil fuels. But over the decades, a lethal mix of overfishing, pollution, intense ocean acidification, and climate change  has increasingly endangered the ecosystems and coastal communities that they sustain.

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature's 2015 Living Blue Planet report, since 1970, Earth has lost a whopping 49 percent of global marine animal species. For their investigation, researchers tracked 5,829 populations of 1,234 mammal, bird, reptile and fish species, making this study twice as large as a previous one published by the WWF in 2014. That study found that Earth’s population of wild animals had dropped by 52 percent since 1970.

The 2015 report states that climate change, overfishing, and pollution are the main culprits behind this rapid decline in marine populations.

“Climate change is already having an impact on habitats like coral reefs, and this is a major concern for the future,” Louise McRae, the study’s lead researcher from the Zoological Society in London, told me over the phone. “If this continues we’ll have lost our functioning coral reef by 2050.”

With three billion people depending on fish stocks as their main source of protein, and over 850 million people benefiting from the economic, social, and cultural services provided by coral reefs, Earth stands to lose a lot if this rapid-fire decline in marine populations continues.

According to the 39-page report, the ocean generates “economic benefits worth at least $2.5 trillion per year.” However, at present, “only 3.4 percent of the ocean is protected, and only part of this is effectively managed.”

“Increasing marine protected area coverage to 30 percent could generate up to $920 billion between 2015 to 2050,” the researchers write.

“The positive news is that this is reversible—we can actually do something about these population declines,” said McRae. “On the individual level, people can make an individual choice to buy only sustainably sourced fish.”

                                   A leatherback turtle hatchling heads out towards the ocean. Image: WWF

“But it really does need some high level action as well [...] a good strong global agreement on climate change will certainly ensure the protection of coral reefs in the future,” she added, saying that debates of such kind should feature prominently at the Climate Change conference, taking place later this year.

Earth is undergoing its sixth mass extinction event, and investigative documentaries such as The End of the Line have already found that corporate greed, consumer ignorance, and government complacencyare the driving forces behind our depleting fish stocks and marine species decline. With such sobering facts and figures at our fingertips, learning to eat seafood sustainably, and pushing our governments to take further action increasingly seems a top priority, if we want to keep our oceans healthy.

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