Climate scientists agree that temperatures are currently rising faster than they have been for 11,000 years and thet the Earth is continuing to warm rapidly.
However, a new analysis taking into account the temperature rise in the most recent decade suggests that the Earth will warm a little more slowly over this century previously thought.
Scientists at the University of Oxford, taking the latest data into account in calculating how much fossil fuel emissions have warmed the Earth, have estimated the temperature rise over the coming few decades.
The team focused on how much hotter the planet will be in the year that carbon dioxide concentrations reach double their pre-industrial value. On current trends, that will happen between 2050 and 2070. Previous studies had estimated that, at that point, temperatures would have risen by 1.6 °C but the revised estimate is of a temperature increase of 1.3 °C.
In the longer term, the Oxford researchers estimates are consistent with previous estimates. They say that the difference between the lower short-term estimate and the more consistent long-term picture can be explained by the fact that the heat from the last decade has been absorbed into and is being stored by the world's oceans.
Other scientists have pointed out that this may be just a temporary phenomenon with the absorbed heat to be released at some future time.