Scientists acknowledge key errors in study of how fast the oceans are warming
A major study claimed the oceans were warming much faster than previously thought. But researchers now say they can’t necessarily make that claim.
November 13, 2018
Scientists behind a major study that claimed the Earth’s oceans are warming faster than previously thought now say their work contained inadvertent errors that made their conclusions seem more certain than they actually are.
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HEADLINE-GRABBING GLOBAL WARMING STUDY SUFFERS FROM A MAJOR MATH ERROR
Michael Bastasch 11/07/2018
- The media fawned over a recent global warming study that had a major math error, researchers found.
- It turns out, the math error made it appear as if oceans warmed more than previously thought.
- Major media outlets uncritically covered the study, sounding the alarm on global warming.
The recent headline-grabbing study that claimed global warming was heating the oceans up faster than expected suffers from a major math error, according to two researchers.
The study, which was published in a prestigious scientific journal at the end of October, put forward results suggesting global warming was much worse than previously believed. The media ate the results up.
Independent scientist Nic Lewis found the study had “apparently serious (but surely inadvertent) errors in the underlying calculations.” Lewis’ findings were quickly corroborated by another researcher.
Numerous media outlets uncritically highlighted the study’s findings. The Washington Post, for example, reported the work suggested “Earth could be set to warm even faster than predicted.”
The Post’s coverage of the “startling” climate study was echoed by The New York Times, which claimed the study suggested global warming “has been more closely in line with scientists’ worst-case scenarios.”
The BBC warned “[t]his could make it much more difficult to keep global warming within safe levels this century.”
However, Lewis found the new paper’s findings stemmed from a math error. Lewis said “a quick review of the first page of the paper was sufficient to raise doubts as to the accuracy of its results.”
“Just a few hours of analysis and calculations, based only on published information, was sufficient to uncover apparently serious (but surely inadvertent) errors in the underlying calculations,” Lewis wrote in a blog post published on climate scientist Judith Curry’s website.
Lewis found the study’s authors, led by Princeton University scientist Laure Resplandy, erred in calculating the linear trend of estimated ocean warming between 1991 and 2016. Lewis has also criticized climate model predictions, which generally over-predict warming.
The sun is going to be really cool in 2050, scientists say
By 2050, that big burning ball of gas is going to be unusually cool, according to a study from the University of California San Diego.
Based on 20 years of data collection and observations, a research team led by physicist Dan Lubin calculated that the sun will be 7% cooler — and dimmer — by the mid-century.
Scientists chalk that change up to what they call a “grand minimum,” which refers to a low point in the core of the sun’s regular 11-year pattern of revving up and resting. At the low point, the sun’s magnetism diminishes, the surface calms and less ultraviolet radiation makes it to the surface of Earth.