No you weren’t imagining it. The snow storms and freezing temperatures across the country aren’t just a one off, but the winters of the past few years have actually been getting colder. The world’s average global temperature has fallen for the past four years, and 2008 was the coldest since 2000. The British Met Office has released figures that the show the earth’s average for 2008 was 14.3 C , which is 0.14 C below the average temperature for 2001 – 2007. Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies has also released figures with similar results.
So what’s going on? Is global warming dead? No such luck, say meteorologists. The climatic variations are caused by La Niña, which is characterized by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. It is the mirror image of the El Niño climate cycle. According to researchers at Kiel University, these natural variations will mask any warming from climate change until about 2015. After that, temperatures rises will start to accelerate. So if you’re stuck in a blizzard and anxiously awaiting global warming, you’ll likely have to wait another six years before things really start to get hairy.