WORLD SWELTERS; COOL SPOTS DEFY GLOBAL WARMING

OSLO, August 6, 2003 (MALAYA) - With the world sweltering through one of the hottest years on record, some icy bastions have been getting frostier in defiance of global warming.

The rare cool spots, also from Canada to China, cause headaches for policy makers seeking to impose expensive measures to curb emissions from cars and factories blamed for blanketing the globe and driving up temperatures.

"We are disrupting the entire climate system," said Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the UN's main panel on climate change. "It's not as though there is going to be a uniform warming of the entire planet."

He said that signs of global warming are overwhelming, from a heat wave in India this year with temperatures up to 49 degrees Celsius that killed 1,500 people, to prolonged drought in Australia.

"There are also many of these (cooling anomalies). But merely to cite one as evidence that there is no warming is not rational," he told Reuters of lingering skepticism to the broad consensus that human pollution is warming the planet.

And experts say that apparent anomalies, such as the growth of glaciers in Norway in the 1990s, can often be explained by a wider picture of global warming because of increased snowfall.

"When the oceans get warmer, you get more evaporation so you create more clouds. Then you can have more precipitation and in some areas it can be in the form of snow," said Josefino Comiso, a senior scientist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre.

He said that his research, for instance, indicated that snow was getting deeper over higher parts of Greenland. Ice and snow in some regions of Antarctica was also getting thicker. "Some climate models suggest these effects," he said.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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