Met Office in the Media: 23 September 2010

The Times has reported on a new piece of research by scientists at the Met Office Hadley Centre, which suggests that summers are likely to be much hotter, despite the fight to limit emissions. In ‘Met Office warns of regular 40C heatwaves’ Ben Webster reports that although global average temperatures may rise by 2 Celsius, regional changes and changes in the extremes we see may be much greater, possibly with serious consequences for some communities

The paper, by Robin Clark, James Murphy and Simon Brown, revealed that even if average warming is limited to 2°C, estimated increases in temperature during the hottest days range from 2°C to 6°C for parts of Europe, North America, and Asia. The researchers also investigate the sources of uncertainty in estimates of regional changes.

The Times reported that these changes were possible by 2040. However this would be at the most extreme end, with global temperatures more likely to warm by 2 Celsius by 2050.

The paper is published in Geophysical Research Letters of the American Geophysical Union.

There has been widespread coverage recently that the parting of the Red Sea may have been caused by strong winds.  The New Scientist quotes the Met Office director of weather science that although the strong  NE’ly wind may well have caused a miraculous opening of the waters somewhere, he doubts that sustained winds of sufficient strength could have been achieved near the Lake of Tanis.

Finally Andre Revkin, in his Dot Earth blog, has reported on a a new scientific paper “An abrupt drop in Northern Hemisphere sea surface temperature around 1970,” is published in the Sept. 23 issue of Nature. The Met Office Hadley Centre has contributed to this paper, developing the datasets used in this analysis. This has involved taking account of all the different ways of measuring sea surface temperatures (including buckets over the sides of ships, engine room intakes, moored and drifting buoys).  Within the article Met Office head of climate monitoring and attribution highlights the quality of the historical observational data that is “now good enough to identify this level of detail in how the climate varies and changes”.

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