The alarming revelation was made in a new Met Office paper released today at the Climate Clinic in Brighton. It's the first time anywhere in the world that scientists have looked at such a small geographical area and identified a temperature rise that can only be explained by anthropogenic (human-induced) factors.
Temperature levels for the region, an area of 40,000 square miles stretching from East Anglia to the Midlands, have never before been collated and studied, and the findings are startling. The conclusions were possible because a unique temperature record exists for Central England stretching back to 1659.
As a result it was possible to put the recent rise in context and the discount natural variations known as 'background climate noise'. The authors of the study say that human influence is at least in part responsible for the one degree of warming since 1960.
Dr Peter Stott, Manager of Understanding and Attributing Climate Change at the Met Office and one of the authors, said: "This is a remarkable anthropogenic signal. Sharp spikes in warming have been recorded in regions across the world, but because we in the UK hold this unique temperature record stretching back nearly 350 years we are able to say that background climate noise can't reasonably be held responsible for what's happening in Central England.
"This is the first time anywhere in the world that climate scientists have been able to look at a small geographical area, identify significant warming and say humans have very likely played a part."
Dr Stott released his findings at the first ever Climate Clinic being held at the Liberal Democrat conference in Brighton. Organised by the UK's leading green organisations and supported by business and the Energy Saving Trust, the Climate Clinic is taking place at each of the main party political conferences this year.
Jason Torrance of the Climate Clinic said: "Dr Stott's findings are deeply worrying. He's found that a large slice of our country has warmed by a degree in the short period of time since man first went into space, and it's down to what we as humans are doing. If the current trend continues the climate of our own country will face profound changes in the lifetimes of our children.
"The members of the Climate Clinic are calling on politicians of all parties to support urgent government action, both domestically and on the international stage, to prevent a climate disaster. The solutions to this crisis exist, what is now needed is political will."
Anthropogenic warming of central England temperatures, is published today by the journal Atmospheric Science Letters, a publication by the Royal Meteorological Society. It was written by Dr Peter Stott of the Met Office and Professor David Karoly of the University of Oklahoma.
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