Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Errors in the measurement of global warming corrected

12.08.2005


Weather balloon. Courtesy of NOAA


The effect of the sun’s heat on weather balloons largely accounts for a data discrepancy that has long contributed to a dispute over the existence of global warming, according to a report by scientists at Yale University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The report, to be published in the journal Science, says that direct heat of the sun on temperature probes of the weather balloon (radiosonde) probably explains the discrepancy between reports showing that atmospheric temperatures have been unchanged since the 1970’s, while temperatures at the Earth’s surface are rising.

For the last 40 years radiosonde temperature information has been collected twice each day from stations around the world at local times that correspond to 00:00 and 12:00 Greenwich Mean Time. Some measurements were taken in daylight, others in darkness.



"Even though models predict a close link between atmospheric and surface temperatures, there has been a large difference in the actual measurements," said Steven C. Sherwood, associate professor of geology and geophysics at Yale, and lead author. "This has muddied the interpretation of reported warming." Most scientists have concluded the surface warming has partly resulted from a buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

The key to the error in climate change estimates lay in instrument design, according to this study. With exposed sensors, measurement taken in daylight read too warm, and while solar heating had a measurable impact on the earlier designs, the effect became negligible in more recent designs.

"It’s like being outside on a hot day -- it feels hotter when you are standing in the direct sun than when you are standing in the shade," said Sherwood. "We can’t hang our hats on the old balloon numbers."

After taking this problem into account, the researchers estimate there has been an increase of 0.2 degree Celsius (°C) in the average global temperature per decade for the last thirty years. Over the next century, global surface temperatures are expected to increase by 2 to 4°C. However, year-to-year and region to region increases may vary considerably, with a smaller increase in the tropics but 10 degrees or more possible in some Polar Regions.

"Unfortunately, the warming is in an accelerating trend -- the climate has not yet caught up with what we’ve already put into the atmosphere," said Sherwood. "There are steps we should take, but it seems that shaking people out of complacency will take a strong incentive."

Janet Rettig Emanuel | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.yale.edu

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Filling the gap: High-latitude volcanic eruptions also have global impact
20.11.2017 | Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences

nachricht Antarctic landscape insights keep ice loss forecasts on the radar
20.11.2017 | University of Edinburgh

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Previous evidence of water on mars now identified as grainflows

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope completes final cryogenic testing

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New catalyst controls activation of a carbon-hydrogen bond

21.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>