Latest studies carried out by a team of researchers at the University of Washington, and at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have proved that the warming of land and the sea along the West Coast of North America over the last few decades has been caused by shifting wind patterns, and not because of human interference.
Climatic changes brought about by natural (though bizarre) occurrences like the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and El Nino have been known to affect the land and sea temperatures of the affected areas for many years. And in some cases, many decades.
The results of the latest studies have helped underline the fact that these changes can last beyond decades and can cause trends whose affects will be noticed for almost a century!
The 1 degree increase of temperature over the North East Pacific Ocean over a period of two decades, beginning 1990 has, as such been now attributed to weaker coastal winds and the resulting low pressure over the sea.
“Changing winds appear to explain a very large fraction of the warming from year to year, decade to decade and the long-term,” said study leader James Johnstone, an independent climate scientist who was actively involved in the study.
80% of the warming along the coast extending from Washington to Northern California and almost 60% of the warming along Southern California has been, as a result of this study, been attributed to natural disturbances and patterns.
Had the warming been caused due to global warming and the greenhouse emissions, they would have affected the climate of the regions along these coasts differently.
Rising temperature along the west coast
Though the findings of this comprehensive research have helped shift the blame for climatic changes from the humans to the natural forces, the scientists have stressed the fact that THESE findings explain the causes for the rising temperatures only at a regional level and not the shooting mercury levels across the world.
Another leading climatologist, Kevin Trenberth, who works at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, however does not quite concur with the findings and rubbishes them off citing poor data collection over the early 20th century as one of the main reasons.
While this research mentioned here does help absolve the humans of some of the guilt, the findings should not be taken to mean that greenhouses gases will not cause a rise in temperatures later.
“This doesn’t say that global warming is not happening,” Mantua said. “It doesn’t say human-caused climate change isn’t happening globally. It’s a regional story.”