Global warming ‘hiatus’ just an artifact, study finds | Science News

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Global warming ‘hiatus’ just an artifact, study finds

Skewed data hid rapid temperature increase of most recent decades

By
2:00pm, June 4, 2015
climate data

WARMING UNPAUSED  Revamped climate data provides a more accurate snapshot of recent global warming. The new numbers dismiss the apparent slowdown in global warming since around 1998. Recent warming has been on par with the late 20th century, the new analysis concludes.

One of the biggest mysteries of modern climate science may never have really existed, updated climate analyses suggest.

Following decades of warming and a hot 1998, Earth’s average surface temperature seemingly plateaued. This warming hiatus, as it came to be known, had climate researchers scrambling for an explanation. Now measurements and analysis by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration suggest that the apparent hiatus was not an actual climate trend. Instead, it was an artifact of incomplete and biased data.

After correcting for biases in ocean temperature measurements and filling gaps in land temperature data, the researchers report online June 4 in Science that recent global warming is more than twice as fast as once thought.

“The Earth is continuing to warm at a rate similar or higher than the rate over the last half of the 20th century,”

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