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8/10/2007

Earth Headed for Record-Setting Heat After 2009,

The Earth is headed for a RECORD-SETTING HEAT WAVE after 2009, a team of U.K. climate experts said in the first such report based on observations from recent years. Scientists unveiled a 10-year climate model, predicting a rapid increase in temperatures between 2009 and 2014. Each year from 2010 through 2014 has at least a 50 percent chance of being warmer than 1998, the hottest on record. The estimate is the first stemming from data collected since 1990 on ocean temperatures, heat-trapping gases and other factors. Other forecasters used information gathered from 1960 to 1990. "Global warming is a problem that needs some action sooner rather than later." The results for years beyond 2014, which haven't been published, suggest that heat records will continue to be set after that. Cooling in the Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific will forestall record annual temperatures for the next two years. After that, global heat will resume an upward climb that has also been predicted by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The UN's World Meteorological Organization bolstered those estimates with a report saying that global surface temperatures were 1.89 degrees Celsius (3.4 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than average in January and 1.37 degrees above the mean in April. Only a rare event such as the eruption of a major volcano might keep warming at bay, at least temporarily. For example, the 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, on Luzon in the Philippines, cooled global annual temperatures by about half a degree Celsius during the following two years. Pinatubo spewed out an enormous cloud of gas and ashes that spread around the earth in two weeks, blocking out some of the sun's rays.
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