Did Global Warming Go on Hiatus for 15 Years?
How did earlier records get it so wrong, and why do scientists believe they're right this time?
Natalie has been writing professionally for about 6 years. After graduating from Ithaca College with a degree in Feature Writing, she snagged a job at PCMag.com where she had the opportunity to review all the latest consumer gadgets. Since then she has become a writer for hire, freelancing for various websites. In her spare time, you may find her riding her motorcycle, reading YA novels, hiking, or playing video games. Follow her on Twitter: @nat_schumaker
Global warming did not take a pause, a new study confirms. If we look back at the old NOAA records, it shows data prior to 2015 indicated sea temperatures had taken a “hiatus” from warming between 1998 and 2013. However, NOAA later revised its data in a controversial paper by NOAA in 2015, arguing this data was biased. An independent group of scientists confirmed NOAA’s assessment—sea temperatures continued to rise in this 15 year period. But how could earlier records get it so wrong and why do scientists believe they are right about it now?
When the 2015 NOAA study “Possible artifacts of data biases in the recent global surface warming hiatus” was released, the organization was accused of “cooking the books.” Critics asserted NOAA’s findings contradicted with the UK’s Hadley Center record, which showed sea temperatures had not risen between 1998 and 2013. It was, in small part, the controversial nature of this paper which brought Zeke Hausfather and his colleagues from University of California, Berkeley to conduct an independent study into NOAA’s findings, to determine which record was most accurate. “If the hiatus is real, it might have implications for our understanding of multidecadal variability or climate sensitivity,” Haufsfather said in an interview with ResearchGate. But this wasn’t the case; sea temperatures have continued to rise.
The differences in the climate record can be explained by the history of the instruments scientists used to monitored the ocean. “Before the mid-1990s almost all our ocean temperature measurements came from ships, mostly through engine room intake valves,” Haufsfather explained to ResearchGate. “Ship measurements can be problematic, as they will be affected by the depth of the hull, the speed of the ship, and other factors that will change over time.”
NOAA had accounted for this inconsistency when it updated the record in 2015, weighing the measurements of thousands of buoys taking sea temperatures in real-time more heavily than data obtained from ships.
“In our study we created three new instrumentally homogenous sea surface temperature records, one using only data from buoys, one using only data from Argo floats, and one using only data from satellite radiometers,” Haufsfather told ResearchGate. These records are all from one type of instrument, and do not require any adjustments for changing instrument types.”
The data obtained from these agree with the 2015 NOAA record that there was no pause in warming and the Hadley record actually shows a cooling bias.
Watch Hausfather explain the method behind the recent Berkeley study and why it confirms NOAA’s findings are sound:
There's still a lot even doctors don't know about it.
- Scientists are experimenting with applying electrical current to brains as a potential therapy and enhancement.
- A wave of DIY brain-shocking is worrying experts.
- Would you ever zap your own brain to see what happens? DIY and direct-to-consumer devices are available, but researchers have called for an open dialog with the DIY community about the risks.
Both schizophrenics and people with a common personality type share similar brain patterns.
- A new study shows that people with a common personality type share brain activity with patients diagnosed with schizophrenia.
- The study gives insight into how the brain activity associated with mental illnesses relates to brain activity in healthy individuals.
- This finding not only improves our understanding of how the brain works but may one day be applied to treatments.
It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.
- Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
- These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
- The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.