Global Warming

Global Warming Pause? — It Doesn’t Exist

Forget about the so-called climate change hiatus — a period beginning in 1998 when the increase in the planet’s temperature reportedly slowed — it doesn’t exist, according to a new study that found the planet’s ocean temperatures are warming faster than previously thought.

The findings support similar results from a 2015 study published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the journal Science. However, doubters of climate change attacked that study, prompting the researchers of the new study to examine the data anew.

“Our results mean that essentially NOAA got it right, that they were not cooking the books,” study lead author Zeke Hausfather, a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley’s Energy and Resources Group.

The climate change hiatus was more of a suspected “slowdown, not a disappearance of global warming,” as the world’s oceans were still warming, but at a lesser rate than previously predicted, according to Climate Central. However, many scientists acknowledged the slowdown, which allegedly took place from 1998 to 2012. Climate change doubters also took note, and used the slowdown as evidence that climate change was a hoax, the researchers of the new study said.

But in 2015, NOAA published an analysis showing that the slowdown wasn’t real, and was the result of measurement errors. The modern buoys that measure ocean temperatures tend to report slightly cooler temperatures than older ship-based systems, even when measuring the same part of the ocean, the NOAA researchers found.

That’s because in the 1950s, ships began to measure water piped through the engine room, which is usually a warm place. In contrast, today’s buoys report slightly cooler temperatures because they measure the water directly from the ocean, Hausfather said.

“The observations have gone from 80 percent ship-based in 1990 to 80 percent buoy-based in 2015,” the researchers wrote in the study. As this switch happened, it appeared that there was a warming slowdown in the ocean — largely because researchers didn’t account for the ships’ warm bias when combining the buoy and ship data sets.

When the NOAA researchers corrected for the bias, they found that the oceans had warmed 0.22 degrees Fahrenheit (0.12 degrees Celsius) per decade since 2000, a rate almost twice as fast as earlier estimates of 0.12 F (0.07 C) per decade. Moreover, the newfound rate matched estimates for the previous 30 years, from 1970 to 1999, the researchers said.

This image obtained Nov. 16, 2015 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows the satellite sea surface temperature departure for the month of October 2015, where orange-red colors are above normal temperatures and are indicative of El Niño.

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