The funny thing about almost any scientific discovery is that it eventually turns out to be wrong. The truth of the matter is that there is a deeper explanation for everything that we have yet to figure out, and by the same token, many theorems of even the greatest scientists are eventually proven wrong. The problem is that science is only as good as the data used to draw the scientific conclusions. If the data are inaccurate, the conclusions are inevitably the same.
In a classic example of this, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency announced earlier this week that the much-ballyhooed “hiatus” in global warming over the last 15 years was based on inaccurate data. In a new study using corrected data and including the last two very warm years, NOAA determined that the rate of global warming was virtually unchanged over the last 15 years.
Statement from NOAA unit director
“The notion that there was a slowdown in global warming, or a hiatus, was based on the best information we had available at the time,” explained Thomas R. Karl, director of the National Centers for Environmental Information, a NOAA division based in Asheville, N.C. “Science is always working to improve.”
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Global warming deniers up in arms
Not surprisingly, NOAA’s revisions to its analysis has led to accusations from some climate-change deniers that the agency was trying to rewrite the truth and make inconvenient data disappear. Climate scientists not associated with the NOAA research said the deniers were dead wrong, noting it was critical that scientific agencies like NOAA to look for and fix problems in their data records.
That said, senior climate scientists at other agencies were not immediately embracing all of NOAA’s new conclusions.
“What you have is a reasonable effort to deal with known biases, and obviously there is some uncertainty in how you do that,” noted Gavin A. Schmidt, who heads a New York-based NASA climate research team.
Most scientists never really accepted the idea put forward by climate contrarians that the “so-called :global warming hiatus” was a major blow to the whole global warming thesis. They generally noted they believe the data, and the situation should be studied further..
One explanation for the global warming slowdown is that natural fluctuations in the Pacific Ocean may have temporarily sucked heat out of the atmosphere, briefly slowing down the long-term increase of surface temperatures.