An article by Matt McGrath, BBC News.

Scientists say the slow down in global warming since 1998 can be explained by a natural cooling in part of the Pacific ocean.

Although they cover just 8% of the Earth, these colder waters counteracted some of the effect of increased carbon dioxide say the researchers.

But temperatures will rise again when the Pacific swings back to a warmer state, they argue.

The research is published in the journal Nature.

Climate sceptics and some scientists have argued that since 1998, there has been no significant global warming despite ever increasing amounts of carbon dioxide being emitted.

For supporters of the idea that man made emissions are driving up temperatures, the pause has become increasingly difficult to ignore.

Scientists have tried to explain it using a number of different theories but so far there is no general agreement on the cause.

“For people on the street it is very confusing as to which story is closer to the truth,” lead author, Prof Shang-Ping Xie from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography told BBC News.

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