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Is it Warming or Cooling?

Reporter Alister Doyle writes that while the world is suffering through one of the hottest years on record due to global warming, some places are getting much colder. "We are disrupting the entire climate system," says Rajendra Pachauri, of the UN panel on climate change. "It's not as though there is going to be a uniform warming of the entire planet."

Pachauri says, "There are also many of these (cooling anomalies). But merely to cite one as evidence that there is no warming is not rational."

"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," says NASA scientist Josefino Comiso.

Geologist Jon Ove Hagen says most glaciers from Alaska to the Himalayas are melting. He says, "By contrast, in 100 years' time one expects that the Antarctic ice will increase in volume because of more snow."

The UN?s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) says that 1998 was the hottest year since records began being kept in 1860, followed by 2002 and 2001. The average surface temperatures in May were the second highest on record. For example, June temperatures in Switzerland were the hottest in 250 years.

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