By Guest • Wednesday, November 29, 2017 – 00:00
The puzzle of the warming pause that stopped continues to perplex. Scientists now think the global climate hiatus never started anyway, writes Tim Radford, a founding editor of Climate News Network.
Just weeks after one group of scientists officially declared an end to the global warming pause, the so-called hiatus, another group has returned to the argument.
They argue that there never was a pause in global warming. There was instead a global misperception that warming slowed between 1998 and 2012, but only because of gaps in the data, in particular from the Arctic, the fastest-warming region of the planet.
“We recalculated the average global temperatures from 1998 to 2012 and found that the rate of global warming had continued to rise at 0.112°C per decade instead of slowing down to 0.05°C per decade as previously thought,” said Xiangdong Zhang, of the International Arctic Research Centre at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
He and colleagues report in the journal Nature Climate Change that their new estimates suggest that the Arctic had warmed by more than six times the global average during the first dozen or so years of this century.
The argument about the apparent slowdown in the rate of increase in global warming – that warming slowed but never stopped – provides a case study of science in action.