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 Sediment from Himalayas may have made 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake more severe
26.05.2017 | Oregon State University

nachricht Devils Hole: Ancient Traces of Climate History
24.05.2017 | Universität Innsbruck

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>