The bitter winter afflicting much of the Northern Hemisphere is only the start of a global trend towards cooler weather that is likely to last for 20 or 30 years, say some of the worldâ€™s most eminent climate scientists.
Their predictions â€“ based on an analysis of natural cycles in water temperatures in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans â€“ challenge some of the global warming orthodoxyâ€™s most deeply cherished beliefs, such as the claim that the North Pole will be free of ice in summer by 2013.
According to the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado, Arctic summer sea ice has increased by 409,000 square miles, or 26 per cent, since 2007 â€“ and even the most committed global warming activists do not dispute this.
The scientistsâ€™ predictions also undermine the standard climate computer models, which assert that the warming of the Earth since 1900 has been driven solely by man-made greenhouse gas emissions and will continue as long as carbon dioxide levels rise.
They say that their research shows that much of the warming was caused by oceanic cycles when they were in a â€˜warm modeâ€™ as opposed to the present â€˜cold modeâ€™.
This challenge to the widespread view that the planet is on the brink of an irreversible catastrophe is all the greater because the scientists could never be described as global warming â€˜deniersâ€™ or sceptics.
However, both main British political parties continue to insist that the world is facing imminent disaster without drastic cuts in CO2. Last week, as Britain froze, Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband maintained in a parliamentary answer that the science of global warming was â€˜settled.’