[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 September 2006, 09:06 GMT 10:06 UK
England's warming 'not natural'
The gatekeeper butterfly - (image courtesy of Butterfly Conservation)
The gatekeeper butterfly is moving north into Scotland
Temperatures in central England are about 1C higher than in the 1950s, and humanity's greenhouse gas emissions are the reason, a new study indicates.

Researchers at the Meteorological Office analysed temperature records going back almost 350 years.

In 1950, the average temperature was about 9.4C; now it is about 10.4C.

Computer models of climate demonstrate that the warming observed over the past 50 years is extremely unlikely to be part of a natural cycle.

Recent studies show British animals migrating northwards, and spring arriving earlier right across Europe.

These are also thought to be signs of temperatures rising in Britain and western Europe, in step with the planet as a whole.

Long run

The Central England Temperature (CET) record dates back to 1659, and is the longest continuous series of temperature measurements made by instruments anywhere in the world.

Locator map for sites of temperature recording (BBC)
Currently, measurements are made at Pershore, Rothamsted and Stonyhurst, and then averaged.

Since the 1950s, CET has risen by about 1C - more than the global average, but less than the increase recorded in parts of the world thought to be particularly sensitive to climate disruption such as the Arctic Ocean and the Antarctic Peninsula.

David Karoly (now at the University of Oklahoma) and Peter Stott of the Hadley Centre, part of the UK Met Office, used a recent computer model of climate to work out the chance that this rise was part of a natural cycle.

The probability was, they calculated, less than 5%.

Writing in the journal Atmospheric Science Letters, they conclude: "Hence, the observed annual mean warming trend over the last 50 years is very unlikely to be due to natural internal climate variability alone."

The researchers found that when they introduced into the model the factor of "anthropogenic forcing" - greenhouse gases produced by industry, transport and other human activities - the model reproduced the observed temperatures.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific