After NOAA’s 2015 controversial research paper that suggested there is no such thing as a global warming pause (or hiatus), a new study confirms that theory. Global warming deniers have touted the idea of a hiatus for years in a bid to dismantle the scientific consensus on climate change.
According to global warming deniers, there has been a pause in the pace at which our planet warmed since the beginning of the century. Or at least the warming slowed down. However, NOAA’s paper dismantled this theory.
The agency used an updated ocean temperature dataset to prove the warming trend has continued into the 21st century. Many scientists agreed but the study triggered a congressional subpoena. The representative who requested the subpoena argued that altering the historical temperature records had “broad national implications”.
Lawmakers asked from NOAA more info on why it made the adjustments including communications from scientists involved in the study. The new study might stir the same level of controversy.
The latest study revealed NOAA scientists did not err in making the adjustments in the existing datasets. The new paper adjusted the records after revelations of new biases in observing systems. Study authors advised the issuers of top global temperature datasets to follow suit.
“We pretty robustly showed that NOAA got it right,”
co-author Zeke Hausfather wrote in the paper.
Hausfather is a Ph.D. student and researcher at the University of California-Berkeley. The university’s Berkeley Earth is an entity that reviewed available data on global temperatures. Hausfather claims there was no political motivation behind the NOAA’s study.
The researcher got help in the study from NASA scientists and researchers at George Mason University, and York University. The research shows NOAA had to match two different ways of assessing global sea temperatures.
One way involves ships that measure temperatures through ocean sampling. Past temperature records overwhelmingly relied on these measurements. The other way involves buoys which float in the ocean, take measurements and beam data to satellites. This latest method first became available in the 1990s. Now they are wildly used because they are safe from human error and don’t rely on physical ships.
However, because there are two methods, scientists scrambled to find a way to piece them together into a single record. NOAA took focused on the buoys in the study because the data from ships was warmer. NOAA scientists speculate that the vessels’ warm engines may have something to do with it.
The agency repeatedly stated buoy-based records are more reliable and accurate than ship-based ones. NOAA acknowledged that it had resorted to a “bias correction” when it matched the two datasets. The correction, however, pushed global temperature up thus annihilating claims that there was a global warming pause in the said time period.
In the meantime, Hausfather and his fellow researchers created separated records based on satellites, buoys and Argo floats respectively. Next, the research team compared the three records to NOAA’s updated datasets. In the end, they found NOAA’s records are more consistent with standalone sources than ship data, which was affected by a “cold bias”.
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