The release in England last week of temperature data suggesting the earth has been cooling off over the past 15 years is bound to set off a new debate over global warming, according to a report Sunday in the Daily Mail
According to the London newspaper, the data released by Britain’s Met Office and the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit indicates that instead of facing rising temperatures the world may be headed for a “mini ice age to rival the 70-year temperature drop that saw frost fairs held on the Thames in the 17th Century.”
The Mail reported the data, which was collected over time from 30,000 measuring stations, indicates the warming trend may have actually ended in 1997 and is now headed in the opposite direction.
The newspaper said climate scientists believe the decrease in temperatures is due to the sun beginning to emit lower levels of energy. As a result, the Mail said some scientists now believe the sun “is now heading towards a ‘grand minimum’ in its output” that threatens colder summers, harder winters, and a shortened food-growing season.
But despite the new temperature data, some scientists still believe that man-made pollution, more than the sun, will influence climate change.
For example, in its report on the new temperature data, the Met Office said any changes in climate patterns due to the cooling temperatures would be negligible “because the impact of the sun on climate is far less than man-made carbon dioxide.”
“Our findings suggest a reduction of solar activity to levels not seen in hundreds of years would be insufficient to offset the dominant influence of greenhouse gases,” report author Peter Scott told the Mail
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