Pace of Global Warming Over Twice As Fast As Predicted By Climate Tracking Data
A new study on global warming found the planet is heating up more than twice as fast as previously estimated by the UK's Met Office, which is the UK's national weather service, according to The Guardian.
In their research published in the The Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, Kevin Cowtan of the University of York and Robert Way of the University of Ottawa found that Met Office data since 1997 only covers 84 percent of the Earth's surface. Those gaps in the HadCRUT4 surface temperature data set, which are compiled by the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, led a faulty estimate for the pace of global warming, Cowtan and Way said. Both researchers contribute to the climate science website Skeptical Science.
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The large gaps in the Met Office data are mainly in the Arctic, Antarctica, and Africa where temperature monitoring stations are relatively scarce, Cowtan and Way found. A rapid warming trend in the Arctic is missing from the Met Office data set, Cowtan and Way noticed.
In their paper, Cowtan & Way apply the method of "kriging" to estimate the missing surface measurements and fill in the data gaps, for both land and oceans.
"Kriging is a method of interpolation which predicts unknown values from data observed at known locations," according to Chao-yi Lang of the Cornell University Department of Computer Science."This method uses variogram to express the spatial variation and it minimizes the error of predicted values, which are estimated by spatial distribution of the predicted values."
In a second and complementary approach, Cowtan and Way also took advantage of the near-global coverage of satellite observations, combining temperature measurements taken by the University of Alabama at Huntsville satellite with the available surface data to create a more complete hybrid temperature data set.
They found that the kriging method works best to estimate temperatures over the oceans, while the hybrid method works best over land and more importantly sea ice, which accounts for much of the unobserved region.
Both of their new surface temperature data sets show significantly more warming over the past 16 years than the HadCRUT4 data set. The difference is mainly due to the HadCRUT4 data set failure to capture the accelerated Arctic warming, especially since 1997, the scientists reported.
Cowtan and Way investigate the claim of a pause in global surface warming over the past 16 or 17 years by examining the trends from 1997 through 2012. Their report is one more set of information in an ongoing controversy over the pace of global warming.
Some scientists have reported a pause in global warming. The Daily Mail reported in a Nov. 2 article that the "the global warming pause may last for 20 more years and the Arctic sea has has already started to recover."
"The 17-year pause in global warming is likely to last into the 2030s and the Arctic sea ice has already started to recover," writes Judith Curry of the Gerogia Institute of Technology and scientist Marcia Wyatt, in a new study published in the Climate Dynamics.
Curry and Wyatt said they have identified a climatic "stadium wave" similar to what happens when a crowd at a stadium stands and sits so that a wave seems to circle the audience.The "stadium wave" climate signal propagates across the Northern Hemisphere through a network of ocean, ice, and atmospheric circulation regimes that self-organize into a collective tempo, Curry and Wyatt said.
Curry and Wyatt said that climate regimes consisting of multiple-decade intervals of warming or cooling evolve in an ordered, repetitive manner. Wyatt's thesis is that the stadium wave signal has existed for at least 300 years.
"The stadium wave forecasts that sea ice will recover from its recent minimum, first in the West Eurasian Arctic, followed by recovery in the Siberian Arctic," Wyatt said in an online article by Georgia Tech. "Hence, the sea ice minimum observed in 2012, followed by an increase of sea ice in 2013, is suggestive of consistency with the timing of evolution of the stadium-wave signal."
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