A TOP Russian scientist has suggested that global warming was started by a meteor that exploded in the atmosphere nearly 100 years ago.

Vladimir Shaidurov, an expert on mathematical modelling, has put forward the controversial hypothesis that the blast caused by the meteor - equivalent to 15 atomic bombs - fundamentally damaged thin, high clouds, letting in more of the sun's energy to heat the Earth.

He said the Tunguska Event in 1908 was responsible for a sharp change in world temperatures.