Findings explain decade without warming
A new study demonstrates why global surface temperatures defied a decades-long trend and didn’t continue to rise between 1998 and 2008: Pollution-spewing, coal-burning power plants in Asia, while emitting warming greenhouse gases, simultaneously sent cooling sulfur particles into the atmosphere.
During that decade — sometimes cited as evidence to deny global warming — these Asian emissions mostly balanced one another and dampened the effects of natural cooling cycles associated with the sun and ocean temperatures.
A team of scientists led by Boston University’s Robert Kaufmann reached this conclusion by analyzing factors contributing to global surface temperature, including human-caused emissions, the 11-year solar cycle and a shift from warming El Ni±o to cooling La Ni±a climate patterns. Without human input, temperatures would have been expected to cool, based on the La Ni±a shift and decreasing solar radiation.