Faulty thermometers exaggerated western U.S. mountain warming | Science News

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Faulty thermometers exaggerated western U.S. mountain warming

Incorrect temperatures were used in snowpack and ecology research

By
12:56pm, January 16, 2015
temperature sensor in Mount Eyak, Alaska

TAINTED TEMPERATURES  High-elevation warming in the western United States was artificially inflated by flawed temperature sensors at stations such as this one on Mount Eyak in Alaska, new research suggests.

Observations of sharply rising high-elevation temperatures in the western United States were caused by faulty equipment, not climate change, new research suggests.

From 1991 to 2012, the National Water and Climate Center’s Snow Telemetry network, or SNOTEL, reported a 1.16 degree Celsius per decade climb in minimum temperatures at high elevations throughout the mountainous American West. Correcting for flawed temperature sensors, which overstated temperatures by as much as 2 degrees Celsius, new research published January 13 in Geophysical Research Letters reduces this decadal increase to roughly 0.106 degrees. That’s roughly in line with warming at lower altitudes. While not used in global climate research, the flawed data were used by ecologists, hydrologists and regional climate researchers, says lead author Jared Oyler, an earth scientist at the University of Montana in

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