NASA conducted a new research which determined that the global warming estimations made for the last 150 years had been flawed by temperature recording errors.
The implication of the study is that climate projections had been underestimated.
The research had been published in the Nature Climate Change journal, and it was performed by Mark Richardson from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.
Being less accessible, the Arctic provided less accurate temperatures readings than the rest of the world. However, the North Pole is also the fastest warming area on the planet. Therefore, the climate models have shown an entirely different picture than the theoretic models based on temperature measurements in the Arctic.
The study points out two major error sources. The first one is the fact that the historical temperature data mixes air and water information, and the model only refers to air temperature. As the water warms slowly than the air does, the data use was incorrect.
Another issue is that in the 1860s, the water ice in the Arctic covered a surface much larger than it does now. The air temperatures were recorded over land areas in the vicinity of ice regions. When the ice is melted, the observers started to measure water temperature, which made the estimations flawed.
The two errors are already known to scientists, but until now no one evaluated their impact on climate change models. The author of the study explains that the effect on estimations was a powerful one, and it drove significant misinterpretations on the evolution of climate changes.
Almost 19% of the global air temperature warming had been hidden by the two factors mentioned above. The calculations made by using historical records showed cooler temperatures than the one utilized by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
In the comparison performed by the NASA scientist, the statistics created by using historical records appeared to be placed somewhere in the middle range of the models employed by the international panel.
The long-term temperature records will display the same error issue. Therefore, the researchers should mention whether they used water or air temperature records in order to make the statistics clear. The aim is to offer a fair comparison and to avoid the scientific biases which may arise from inconsistent or incomplete data.
The research project is a part of NASA’s program to help understand our planet and to safeguard its future. The agency uses space technology to analyze the natural systems, their interconnections and the history data records.
Image Source: Wikipedia
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