The global average temperature is likely to remain unchanged by the end of the century, contrary to predictions by climate scientists that it could rise by more than 4C, according to a leading statistician.
British winters will be slightly warmer but there will be no change in summer, Terence Mills, Professor of Applied Statistics at Loughborough University, said in a paper published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation.
He found that the average temperature had fluctuated over the past 160 years, with long periods of cooling after decades of warming.
Dr Mills said scientists who argued that global warming was an acute risk to the planet tended to focus on the period from 1975-98, when the temperature rose by about 0.5C.
He used simple statistical methods, normally used to predict economic trends, to forecast future temperatures. He took into account all the fluctuations in the temperature since 1850 and found no evidence to support the increase predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a UN scientific body.
He found the average winter temperature in central England, which has the world’s longest temperature records going back to 1659, had increased by about 1C over 350 years. Based on that change, he forecast an additional increase of about 0.25C by 2100.
He said the average temperature would continue to be “buffeted about by big shocks” caused by natural events, such as the El Niño weather phenomenon.
He said that his analysis, unlike computer models used by the IPCC to forecast climate change, did not include assumptions about the rate of warming caused by rising emissions.
“It’s extremely difficult to isolate a relationship between temperatures and carbon dioxide emissions,” he said.