Friday, May 12, 2017

More Errors Identified in Contrarian Climate Scientists' Temperature Estimates

A new study suggests there are remaining biases in the oft-corrected University of Alabama at Huntsville atmospheric temperature estimates.

Aqua satellite in space orbiting Earth. (Photograph Credit: Alamy Stock Photo) Click to Enlarge.
Human emission of heat-trapping gases is causing the Earth to warm.  We’ve known that for many decades.  In fact, there are no reputable scientists that dispute this fact.  There are, however, a few scientists who don’t think the warming will be very much or that we should worry about it.  These contrarians have been shown to be wrong over and over again, like in the movie Groundhog Day.  And, a new study just out shows they may have another error.  But, despite being wrong, they continue to claim Earth’s warming isn’t something to be concerned about.

Perhaps the darlings of the denialist community are two researchers out of Alabama (John Christy and Roy Spencer).  They rose to public attention in the mid-1990s when they reportedly showed that the atmosphere was not warming and was actually cooling.  It turns out they had made some pretty significant errors and when other researchers identified those errors, the new results showed a warming.

To provide perspective, we know the Earth is warming because we can measure it.  Most of the heat (93%) goes into the oceans and we have sensors measuring ocean temperatures that show this.  We also know about warming because we have thermometers and other sensors all over the planet measuring the temperature at the surface or in the first few meters of air at the surface.  Those temperatures are rising too.  We are also seeing ice melting and sea level rising around the planet. 

So, the evidence is clear.  What Christy and Spencer focus on is the temperatures measured far above the Earth’s surface in the troposphere and the stratosphere.  Generally, over the past few decades these two scientists have claimed the troposphere temperatures are not rising very rapidly.  This argument has been picked up to deny the reality of human caused climate change – but it has been found to be wrong.

Read more at More Errors Identified in Contrarian Climate Scientists' Temperature Estimates

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