Despite 2010 being a very warm year globally, the severity of the 2009-2010 northern winter and a wetter and cooler Australia in 2010 relative to the past few years could be misinterpreted by some to imply that climate change is not occurring.
According to the CSIRO, the recent extreme weather in both northern and southern hemispheres reflect short-term variability's in climate, and does not indicate the global climate is not warming. Barrie Hunt, an Honorary Research Fellow with CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research , says the reality is quite the contrary. Periodic short-term cooling in global temperatures should not be misinterpreted as signalling an end to global warming.
"Recent wet conditions in eastern Australia mainly reflect short-term climate variability and weather events, not longer-term climate change trends. Conclusions that climate is not changing are based on a misunderstanding of the roles of climatic change caused by increasing greenhouse gases and climatic variability due to natural processes in the climatic system", says Mr Hunt.
Mr Hunt states that in addition to climate change being linked to human activity, natural variability produces periods where the global climate can be either cooler or warmer than usual.
Mr Hunt's results were published in the latest edition of the international journal Climate Dynamics.