An unparalleled increase in global temperatures could be triggered by something as simple and inevitable as a shift in prevailing winds, according to a year-end article in the journal Nature Geoscience.
A “cryptic chemical weather log” from coral on Tarawa Atoll in the Central Pacific “has been cracked, helping scientists explain a century of peaks and troughs in global warming—and inflaming fears that a speedup will follow the recent slowdown,” Climate Central reports.
The new historical data “point to the long-term waxing and waning pattern of the trade winds in affecting worldwide temperatures,” Upton writes. “That type of change in the intensity of Pacific trade winds appears to happen every 20 to 30 years or so.”
“When winds weaken, which they inevitably will, warming will once again accelerate,” said study lead Diana Thompson of the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research. “The warming caused by greenhouse gases and the warming associated with this natural cycle will compound one another.”