“And this is really one of our biggest kind of gaps in the data that we’re producing for the climate,” he continued. “And it means that when we’re looking at relatively short-term trends … the variance in that and the inability to really constrain those aerosol forcings really kind of make it hard for us to say what we should have expected over that time period.”
Climate scientists have struggled to explain why global temperatures have not significantly risen in the last 17 years. Some scientists argue that the excess greenhouse gases have gone into the ocean, negating any warming effect while others contend that natural climate and solar cycles are to blame.
“So the situation that we’re seeing now, there’s some natural variability components,” said Schmidt, “there is some uncertainty in what the trends of the different forcings have been, but we’ve also had slightly more volcanic activity than we anticipated and the sun … has been slightly dimmer than we anticipated 10 years ago.”
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