Cool January warms climate sceptics

Severe winter weather in several parts of the globe in January prompted a flurry of articles in the UK media suggesting that warnings of accelerating global warming were wrong. There were very low temperatures and high snowfalls in China, the Middle East and elsewhere.

But averaged across the planet, January temperatures were nothing special. The UK Met Office records January 2008 as only the coldest since 1990, while the US National Climatic Data Centre said the month was the 31st warmest on record, and above the 20th century mean.

The Met Office attributed the January drop in global temperatures to the La Niña phenomenon, which is the cold phase following the El Niño Southern Oscillation.

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