Guest essay by Neil Catto
The other day I conducted a presentation using the UK CET, like I have on several occasions. Along with explaining it as the longest recognised instrumental record of historical temperature anywhere on Earth, it is the best record we have to understand long the past.
Fig 1 Central England Mean Monthly Temperatures 1659-2012
As part of this presentation I point out that the temperature from 1659 to 2012 has only increased 0.87 Deg C in 353 years, or equivalent to 0.025 Deg C/decade. Considering this is a recovery period from the Little Ice Age it is hardly surprising and just part of natural variation. At this stage I normally get a few “really?” questions.
“The UK MetOffice’s own figures”, I reply.
The other day however was a bit different, someone in the audience asked “so how long will it take to get to the dangerous 2 Degrees C?”
Pause, why hadn’t I worked that one out before? Quick calculation done, 800 years I replied.
I recalculate, and say “800 years given the current trend”. Gobsmacked audience!