There will be no further warming of the planet over the next five years, the Met Office has forecast. The downgrading of its predictions for the effects of climate change means that by 2017 there is projected to have been no global increase in temperature for almost 20 years.
Having previously forecast a rise of 0.3 degrees between 2004 and 2014, The Met Office now expects that during the 2013 to 2017 period temperature is likely to remain between 0.28C and 0.59C above the 1971 to 2000 average.
With much of this warming having already happened since 1971, the practical consequence is that there will have been a plateauing of the global temperature graph since the turn of the millennium.
However the Met Office said this revision, based on an updated computer model, did not affect assessments of climate change into the future. “The fact that the new model predicts less warming, globally, for the coming five years does not necessarily tell us anything about long-term predictions of climate change for the coming century,” the organisation said in a statement.
It is possible, the Met Office said, that the apparent stalling of warming could be due to factors such as changes in ocean currents.