Climate change scientists who have predicted temperatures will severely rise due to man made global warming have been questioned by critics who say this year’s rise is mainly down to El Niño and may drop again to lower levels.
But a leading scientist has dispelled claims it has anything to do with human activity, saying it is simply a natural phenomenon which occurs roughly every 7-20 years in the form of El Nino.
Dr Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Warming Policy Foundation, said the El Niño weather pattern pushes up temperatures globally and is followed by La Nina which brings temperatures back down again.
He said: “This El Niño is similar to the strong 1998 El Niño where temperatures rose globally.
The Met Office have acknowledged the affect of El Nino on warming, and have warned if temperatures remain as predicted, 2015 will be the first year to breach [1C of warming since] pre-industrial levels.
Some researchers have questioned the reliability of the temperature levels used in the 1750s, when the industrial revolution began and fossil fuels became widely used, meaning it is almost impossible to determine an accurate assessment of how much the world has warmed.
But the Met Office argue by using an average of the temperatures recorded between 1850 and 1900, their analysis is more accurate.
Stephen Belcher, director of the Met Office Hadley Centre said: “We have seen a strong El Nino develop in the Tropical Pacific this year and that will have had some impact on this year’s global temperature.
An El Niño weather pattern causes a warming in sea surface temperatures across the Pacific Ocean which pushes up temperatures across the the world and causes different parts of the globe to be drier than average or wetter than average.
El Nino works to heat sea temperatures
Dr Peiser said it is “too early” to say how high temperatures will be with this year’s El Niño.
El Niño weather patterns occur every seven to eight-years, with a very strong El Niño every 20-years.
He added: “The big debate is how much we’re contributing to climate change but in this case the natural factors are much more dominant.”
The claims come after NASA announced that Antartica’s ice was not melting and actually growing in size.
The US space agency research claims an increase in Antarctic snow accumulation that began 10,000 years ago is “currently adding enough ice to the continent to outweigh the increased losses from melting glaciers.