by Jo Abbess
3 December 2009
One Hot Year
1998 was a very hot year. Worldwide, the land and sea surface temperatures spiked sharply upwards. Scientists said it was supposed to get hot, but not this hot. Yet by the year 2000, things had cooled back down again. In fact, they were a little cooler than 1995.  The detailed analysis made it seem like a murder mystery – who killed the heat ? What happened to Global Warming ?
Part of the forensic evidence came from analysis of Mount Pinatubo. On 15th June 1991, it experienced massive volcanic eruption causing an enormous plume in the sky, easily visible from space.   The sulphur dioxide in the plume deflected the sun’s heating rays from Earth, and temperatures on the ground plummeted around the world. Yet, despite this cooling effect, land and sea surface temperatures were back to normal by around 1995, just in time for the sizzle of 1998. 
It seemed likely that spikes and slumps were just natural cycles; the climate systems moving from one stable pattern to another. For years, big loops of wind will rotate in one direction, and weathermen know what the temperatures and rainfall will look like. And then the whole setup will flip and change, and temperatures, rainfall and winds will all be different. 
Research showed that the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) created drought weather conditions in 1997, causing massive forest fires in Indonesia that helped drive up worldwide temperatures in 1998. 
A “nuclear winter” from the occasional volcanic eruption, or a “fry up” from flip-flops in big climate circulations only have a short-term impact on global temperatures.  The Climate is always changing. There are ups, and there are downs, but no permanent changes. Don’t believe the spikes.