The Arctic conditions which have brought Britain to a standstill over the past week could be the start of a "pause" in global warming, some scientists believe.
The world could be in for a spell of cooler temperatures, rather than hotter conditions, as a result of cyclical changes in ocean currents for the next 20 or 30 years, it is predicted.
Research by Professor Mojib Latif, one of the world's leading climate modellers, questions the widely held view that global temperatures will rise rapidly over the coming years.
But Prof Latif, of the Leibniz Institute at Germany's Kiel University and an author for the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), believes that the cool spell will only be a temporary interruption to climate change.
He told a UN conference in September that changes in ocean currents known as North Atlantic Oscillation could dominate over man-made global warming for the next few decades.
Controversially, he also said that the fluctuations could also be responsible for much of the rise in global temperatures seen over the past 30 years.
Prof Latif told one newspaper at the weekend: "A significant share of the warming we saw from 1980 to 2000 and at earlier periods in the 20th Century was due to these cycles – perhaps as much as 50 per cent.
"They have now gone into reverse, so winters like this one will become much more likely.
"Summers will also probably be cooler, and all this may well last two decades or longer.
"The extreme retreats that we have seen in glaciers and sea ice will come to a halt.
"For the time being, global warming has paused, and there may well be some cooling."
But Prof Latif believes that the pause represents only a temporary respite rather than a challenge to the basis of global warming. Source