U.K. Met Office Lowers Warming Forecast for Next 5 Years

Jan. 9 (Bloomberg) -- The U.K. Met Office lowered its forecast for warming temperatures over the next five years, citing natural variability in the global climate.

Global average temperatures from 2013 through 2017 will probably be about 0.43 degree Celsius (0.77 degree Fahrenheit) above the 1971 through 2000 mean, the Met Office said in its latest near-term climate forecast. That compares with the 0.54 degree rise predicted in December 2011 for 2012 through 2016.

“The latest decadal prediction suggests that global temperatures over the next five years are likely to be a little lower than predicted from the previous prediction,” the Met Office said late yesterday in a statement. “Temperatures will remain well above the long-term average and we will continue to see temperatures like those which resulted in 2000-2009 being the warmest decade in the instrumental record” back to 1850.

Lower ocean surface temperatures over the past year contributed to the revision, the Met Office said.

“Small year to year fluctuations such as those that we are seeing in the shorter term five year predictions are expected due to natural variability in the climate system, and have no sustained impact on the long term warming,” it said.

The short-term forecast was updated on the Met Office website on Dec. 24. While 0.43 degree is the central forecast, there’s a 90 percent probability that the average temperature for 2013-2017 will be 0.28 to 0.59 degree warmer than the long term average, the Met Office said. That compares with the 0.36 to 0.72 degree range forecast in December 2011.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Morales in London at amorales2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net