Science community rallies in face of 'Climategate'
New Zealand scientists have added support to the World Meteorological Organisation’s (WMO) findings that 2009 is likely to be in the top 10 warmest years since 1850.
Rallying in the face of ‘Climategate,’ supporters of the IPCC’s role in mainstream climate science say the results are consistent.
New Zealand Climate Change Research Institute director Professor Martin Manning said it was an important statement from the WMO.
“Given the amount of criticism that has been aimed recently at one of the groups doing careful summaries of temperature data, it shows that our knowledge of the increasing global temperatures is widespread and certainly not reliant on any individual organisation.”
He said it confirmed a preliminary statement from the institute in October that said this decade would be warmer than the last by 0.16 to 0.17 degrees Celsius and that seven of the ten warmest years on record were in this decade.
Those arguing there was a peak in temperatures in the 1990s were not making a balanced interpretation of the data.
“The WMO statement also points out the increasing seriousness of extreme weather around the world. The number of extreme events is increasing and leading to a growing realisation that continuing climate change will bring negative impacts.”
World Meteorological Organisation Commission for Agriculture Meteorology, Jim Salinger, said the WMO showed climate warming continued this year – the fifth warmest year on record and the third lowest summer Artic sea ice on record.
“New Zealand observations are consistent and show continuing increase in New Zealand temperatures over the last few decades, and further loss of the permanent snow and ice in the Southern Alps.”
Principal scientist at NIWA, James Renwick said the state of the global climate this year was only possible to observe since comprehensive satellite and other observing systems became available and monitoring systems should be a top priority for national funding agencies.
“The climate in 2009 show a mix of events, underlining the effects of climate extremes upon humanity, from the Victorian bush fires, to drought in China, and heat waves in Europe and India.
“The climate change signal is clear, with the current decade coming in warmer than the 1990s, which were warmer than the 1980s. Continued monitoring, prediction, and adaptation/preparedness are crucial.”