Changes in ocean currents which have brought a spell of cooler temperatures in many parts of the world could be the start of a “pause” in global warming, a new study claimed.

According to a research by Prof Mojib Latif, one of the world’s leading climate modellers, the cyclical changes in ocean currents known as North Atlantic Oscillation could dominate over manmade global warming for the next few decades.

Mr. Latif said the world could be in for a spell of cooler temperatures, rather than hotter conditions, for the next 20 or 30 years as a result of changes in the Arctic conditions which have brought many countries to a standstill over the past week.

The professor from the Leibniz Institute at Germany’s Kiel University and an author for the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) questioned the widely held view that global temperatures will rise rapidly over the coming years but believed that the cool spell will only be a temporary interruption to climate change.

Controversially, he also said that the fluctuations could be responsible for much of the rise in global temperatures seen over the past 30 years, The Telegraph reported.

Mr. Latif recently said, “A significant share of the warming we saw from 1980 to 2000 and at earlier periods in the 20th Century was due to these cycles — perhaps as much as 50 per cent”.

“They have now gone into reverse, so winters like this one will become much more likely. Summers will also probably be cooler, and all this may well last two decades or longer. The extreme retreats that we have seen in glaciers and sea ice will come to a halt. For the time being, global warming has paused, and there may well be some cooling,” he said.

But Mr. Latif believes that the pause represents only a temporary respite rather than a challenge to the basis of global warming.