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Experts: Cold snap doesn't disprove global warming
[ 2010-01-11 09:31 ]

An undated file photo shows a man skis.Beijing had its coldest morning in almost 40 years and its biggest snowfall since 1951. Britain is suffering through its longest cold snap since 1981. And freezing weather is gripping the Deep South, including Florida's orange groves and beaches. Whatever happened to global warming?

Beijing had its coldest morning in almost 40 years and its biggest snowfall since 1951. Britain is suffering through its longestcold snapsince 1981. And freezing weather is gripping the Deep South, including Florida's orange groves and beaches.

Whatever happened to global warming?

Such weather doesn't seem to fit with warnings from scientists that the Earth is warming because of greenhouse gases. But experts say the cold snap doesn'tdisproveglobal warming at all - it's just ablipin the long-term heating trend.

"It's part of naturalvariability," said Gerald Meehl, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. With global warming, he said, "we'll still have record cold temperatures. We'll just have fewer of them."

Deke Arndt of the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., noted that 2009 will rank among the 10 warmest years for Earth since 1880.

Scientists say man-made climate change does have the potential to cause more frequent and more severe weather extremes, such as heat waves, storms, floods, droughts and even cold spells. But experts did not connect the current frigidblastto climate change.

So what is going on?

"We basically have seen just a big outbreak of Arctic air" over populated areas of the Northern Hemisphere, Arndt said. "The Arctic air has reallyturned itself looseon us."

In the atmosphere, large rivers of air travel roughly west to east around the globe between the Arctic and the tropics. This air flow acts like a fence to keep Arctic air confined.

But recently, this air flow has become bent into apronouncedzigzag pattern, meandering north and south. If you live in a place where it brings air up from the south, you get warm weather. In fact, record highs were reported this week in Washington state and Alaska.

But in the eastern United States, like some other unlucky parts of the globe, Arctic air isswoopingdownfrom the north. And that's how you get a temperature of 3 degrees in Beijing, a reading of minus-42 in mainland Norway, and 18 inches of snow in parts of Britain, where a member of Parliament who said the snow "clearly indicates a cooling trend" was jeered by colleagues.

The zigzag pattern arises naturally from time to time, but it is not clear why it's so strong right now, said Michelle L'Heureux, a meteorologist at the Climate Prediction Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The center says the pattern should begin to weaken in a week or two.

(Read by Lee Hannon. Lee Hannon is a multimedia journalist at the China Daily Web site.) 点击查看更多双语新闻
















寒流袭来 暖处过节成新宠



十年热词榜出炉 全球变暖居首


全球变暖 候鸟被迫迁徙更远

(中国日报网英语点津 陈丹妮 编辑蔡姗姗)


cold snap:寒潮

disprove:to prove to be false, invalid, or in error 证明……是虚假的;反驳(Evidence has now disproved that theory. 事实现已证明那种理论是不正确的。)

blip: a temporary or insignificant phenomenon, especially a brief departure from the normal 偏离正常轨道的一个短暂现象

variability:the quality, state, or degree of being variable or changeable 变化性;变化的倾向

blast: a powerful hit, blow, or shot 冲击波,气浪

turn sb./sth. lose:to give up control of someone or something, so they can do what they want 放开,释放;听凭,放纵

pronounced:strongly marked; distinct 明显的,显著的

swoop down:to dive or plunge downward 俯冲

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