Temperatures in the North Atlantic were influenced by a giant 'conveyor belt' of warm water from the south called the meridional overturning circulation. This weakens and grows stronger every 80 years. When the circulation is strong, temperatures are warmer. A new model of this pattern suggests it would weaken over the next ten years leading to cooler temperatures.
''Our results suggest global surface temperature may not increase over the next decade,'' scientists said.
''Such a cooling could temporarily offset the longerterm warming from increasing levels of greenhouse gases,'' stated Dr Richard Wood of Met Office Hadley Centre.
The scientists believed 2008 would be slightly cooler than last year. But the last ten years remain the warmest decade in recent human history.