LONDON, July 22 (UPI) -- Heat absorbed by the deep oceans has brought a slowing of global warming in the last five years, U.K. scientists say, but the long-term trend is still upward.
Oceans absorb large amounts of the Earth's heat, a phenomenon that goes on over long periods as heat from the ocean surface is gradually circulated to the seas' deeper regions, they said.
Global temperatures have remained largely static over the past five years, giving ammunition to climate change skeptics, but scientists said the evidence still clearly points to ongoing global warming in the coming decades as greenhouse gases in the atmosphere build up, The Guardian reported Monday.
Computer climate models show periods of slower warming were to be expected as part of the natural variation of the climate cycle and did not contradict predictions of ongoing global warming, Peter Stott of Britain's Met Office said.
Despite the current slowdown, average temperatures are expected to reach more than 3 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels by 2060, they said.
The current slowing of that warming would only delay reaching that point by five to 10 years, climate researcher Rowan Sutton at the National Center for Atmospheric Research at Reading University said.