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Global Warming Hiatus Isn’t Over: It Never Began
By Tim Radford
Just weeks after one group of scientists officially declared an end to the global warming pause, the so-called hiatus, another group has returned to the argument.
They argue that there never was a pause in global warming. There was instead a global misperception that warming slowed between 1998 and 2012, but only because of gaps in the data, in particular from the Arctic, the fastest-warming region of the planet.
"We recalculated the average global temperatures from 1998 to 2012 and found that the rate of global warming had continued to rise at 0.112°C per decade instead of slowing down to 0.05°C per decade as previously thought," said Xiangdong Zhang, of the International Arctic Research Centre at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
He and colleagues report in the journal Nature Climate Change that their new estimates suggest that the Arctic had warmed by more than six times the global average during the first dozen or so years of this century.
The argument about the apparent slowdown in the rate of increase in global warming—that warming slowed but never stopped—provides a case study of science in action.
From the mid-1980s to almost the century's end, atmospheric levels of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide continued to rise as economies expanded, energy demand increased and humans burned ever more coal, oil and natural gas. And in the course of this, global temperatures inched up, in line with the greenhouse gas ratios.
And then, after the hottest year ever, in 1998—a year in which a natural cyclic climate phenomenon called El Niño bumped up the temperatures even more—the rate of warming seemed to slow to a dawdle, even though carbon dioxide ratios continued to increase.
Scientists don't care for readings they cannot explain. In Asia, Europe and America, researchers went back to the calculations. Some groups blamed it on shifts in a natural cycle of oceanic warming and cooling, some on volcanic eruptions that could have subtly screened solar radiation, and some on changes in the trade winds.
Others challenged the conclusion: perhaps the so-called slowdown was a problem of perspective. Perhaps the increases in extremes of temperature over the last decade and a half had distorted the dataset.
And even if the dip in the rate of increase of global warming was indeed real, it made no difference to the long-term predictions. So the latest study may not be the last word on the subject.
There is now no doubt that warming has resumed at a predictable rate and each of the last three years 2014-16 has been the hottest ever recorded, with 2017 likely to be listed among the hottest three.
And the continued warming of the world would have been registered more plainly had instrumentation in the Arctic been more complete.
To recalculate, the Fairbanks team used temperature data from the University of Washington's International Arctic Buoy program and newly-corrected sea surface temperatures from the U.S. government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Until the last few years, researchers had not thought changes in the Arctic—and in November 2016, Arctic temperatures were 20°C above the normal for the time of year—would be huge enough to influence average global temperatures.
"The Arctic is remote only in terms of physical distance," Prof. Zhang said. "In terms of science, it's close to every one of us. It's a necessary part of the equation and the answer affects us all."
Reposted with permission from our media associate Climate News Network.
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Cabin fever is often associated with being cooped up on a rainy weekend or stuck inside during a winter blizzard.
In reality, though, it can actually occur anytime you feel isolated or disconnected from the outside world.
What is cabin fever?<p>In popular expressions, cabin fever is used to explain feeling bored or listless because you've been stuck inside for a few hours or days. But that's not the reality of the symptoms.</p><p>Instead, cabin fever is a series of negative emotions and distressing sensations people may face if they're isolated or feeling cut off from the world.</p><p>These feelings of isolation and loneliness are more likely in times of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/yes-covid-19-cases-are-rising-why-you-still-need-to-practice-social-distancing" target="_blank">social distancing</a>, self-quarantining during a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/what-is-a-pandemic" target="_blank">pandemic</a>, or sheltering in place because of severe weather.</p><p>Indeed, cabin fever can lead to a series of symptoms that can be difficult to manage without proper coping techniques.</p><p>Cabin fever isn't a recognized psychological disorder, but that doesn't mean the feelings aren't real. The distress is very real. It can make fulfilling the requirements of everyday life difficult.</p>
What are the symptoms?<p>Symptoms of cabin fever go far beyond feeling bored or "stuck" at home. They're rooted in an intense feeling of isolation and may include:</p><ul><li>restlessness</li><li>decreased motivation</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/irritability" target="_blank">irritability</a></li><li>hopelessness</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/unable-to-concentrate" target="_blank">difficulty concentrating</a></li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/irregular-sleep-wake-syndrome" target="_blank">irregular sleep patterns</a>, including sleepiness or sleeplessness</li><li>difficulty waking up</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/lethargy" target="_blank">lethargy</a></li><li>distrust of people around you</li><li>lack of patience</li><li>persistent <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/depression-vs-sadness" target="_blank">sadness or depression<br></a></li></ul>
What can help you cope with cabin fever?<p>Because cabin fever isn't a recognized psychological condition, there's no standard "treatment." However, mental health professionals do recognize that the symptoms are very real.</p><p>The coping mechanism that works best for you will have a lot to do with your personal situation and the reason you're secluded in the first place.</p><p>Finding meaningful ways to engage your brain and occupy your time can help alleviate the distress and irritability that cabin fever brings.</p><p>The following ideas are a good place to start.</p>
When to get help<p>Cabin fever is often a fleeting feeling. You may feel irritable or frustrated for a few hours, but having a virtual chat with a friend or finding a task to distract your mind may help erase the frustrations you felt earlier.</p><p>Sometimes, however, the feelings may grow stronger, and no coping mechanisms may be able to successfully help you eliminate your feelings of isolation, sadness, or depression.</p><p>What's more, if your time indoors is prolonged by outside forces, like weather or extended shelter-in-place orders from your local government, feelings of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety" target="_blank">anxiety</a> and fear are valid.</p><p>In fact, anxiety may be at the root of some cabin fever symptoms. This may make symptoms worse.</p><p>If you feel that your symptoms are getting worse, consider reaching out to a mental health professional who can help you understand what you're experiencing. Together, you can identify ways to overcome the feelings and anxiety.</p><p>Of course, if you're in isolation or practicing social distancing, you'll need to look for alternative means for seeing a mental health expert.</p><p>Telehealth options may be available to connect you with your therapist if you already have one. If you don't, reach out to your doctor for recommendations about mental health specialists who can connect with you online.</p><p>If you don't want to talk to a therapist, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/top-iphone-android-apps" target="_blank">smartphone apps for depression</a> may provide a complementary option for addressing your cabin fever symptoms.</p>
The bottom line<p>Isolation isn't a natural state for many people. We are, for the most part, social animals. We enjoy each other's company. That's what can make staying at home for extended periods of time difficult.</p><p>However, whether you're sheltering at home to avoid dangerous weather conditions or heeding the guidelines to help minimize the spread of a disease, staying at home is often an important thing we must do for ourselves and our communities.</p><p>If and when it's necessary, finding ways to engage your brain and occupy your time may help bat back cabin fever and the feelings of isolation and restlessness that often accompany it.</p>
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