The planet has been slowly warming over the last century or more. But in the last 15 years, that rate of warming has slowed. Temperatures are still high by historical standards; but between 1998 and 2013 they were slightly below what climate models had predicted. A small number of scientists and policy makers have pointed to the slowdown and discrepancy as proof that climatologists -- and the wider theory of global warming -- can't be trusted.
Many of these same scientists have suggested the planet's warming is just the climate's natural fluctuation and not manmade. But the same McGill researcher who earlier this year proved such a notion to be statistically impossible has employed the same mathematical techniques to explain the recent global warming "hiatus."
In analyzing the fluctuation of global temperatures through history, McGill University physics professor Shaun Lovejoy showed the last 15 years of moderated warming is "a pattern that is in line with variations that occur historically every 20 to 50 years."
The so-called pause "exactly follows a slightly larger pre-pause warming event, from 1992 to 1998," explained Lovejoy in his most recent study -- published recently in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
"The pause thus has a convincing statistical explanation," Lovejoy concluded.