Want to lose £2,000? Then make a bet with a climate change expert that the world isn’t warming.
That’s what two members of Lord Lawson’s climate change science denying Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) did when they bet Chris Hope, a Cambridge University researcher, that 2015 wouldn’t be the hottest year ever recorded.
But new data released this week by meteorologists in the UK and US proved the GWPF wrong as 2015 saw “record-shattering” global temperatures.
Five years ago British engineer Alan Rudge and Australian geologist Ian Plimer – both members of the GWPF academic advisory council – bet Hope £1,000 each that the Earth would be cooling by now, not warming.
Hope bet that average global temperatures in 2015 would be no more than 0.1°C cooler than in 2008.
As data released by the UK Met Office on 20 January revealed, the average global temperature in 2015 was 0.75°C higher than the long-term average between 1961 and 1990. The Met Office expects 2016 to beat this record.
When compared with the pre-industrial period, the 2015 average global temperature was around 1°C above the long-term average from 1850 to 1900 the Met Office said.
Temperature data from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) also showed that 2015 surface temperatures were the warmest since modern record keeping began in 1880.
Experts agree the record-breaking 2015 temperature was the result of the long-term warming trend caused mainly by the burning of fossil fuels combined with a strong El Niño year.
Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies said: “2015 was remarkable even in the context of the ongoing El Niño. Last year’s temperatures had an assist from El Niño, but it is the cumulative effect of the long-term trend that has resulted in the record warming that we are seeing.”
Professor Phil Jones, from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit, said: “While there is a strong El Niño-elevated global temperature this year, it is clear that human influence is driving our climate into uncharted territory.”
Photo via NASA. Credit: Scientific Visualization Studio/Goddard Space Flight Center