Researchers publishing work in the 1 March edition of Geophysical Research Letters have concluded that “there is only a one in 20 chance that the string of record high temperatures in 1997-1998 was simply an unusual event”.

The authors of The Record Breaking Global Temperatures of 1997 and 1998: Evidence for an increase in the rate of global warming? point out that the temperature increases recorded for the 20th century fall within the estimated increase for the 21st century, published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC). The IPPC predicted between a 1° and 3.5°F increase during this century, but lower rises for the 20th century.

The data published in the article was collected by the US National Climate Data Center. The study’s authors recommend research into methods to mitigate climate change and state that more rapid changes in temperature than those already recorded are a distinct possibility.

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