Researchers have combined five separate leading temperature datasets to prove that global warming is not showing any signs of slowing down in the near future.
The researchers, statisticians, and climate experts came from Tempo Analytics and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Their study was published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Research Letters.
They combined and analysed the five leading global temperature datasets covering a period from 1979 to 2010. They then factored out the three major short-term temperature fluctuations – El Niño, volcanic eruptions and variations in the Sun’s brightness – allowing them to show that the global temperature increased by 0.5°C in the past 30 years.
In addition, according to all five of datasets, 2009 and 2010 were the two hottest years, and in average over all five datasets, 2010 is the hottest year on record.
“Our approach shows that the idea that the global warming trend has slowed or even paused over the last decade or so is a groundless misconception. It shows that differences between the five datasets reside, to a large extent, in their short-term variability and not in the climatic trend. After the variability is removed, all five datasets are very similar,” said study co-author Stefan Rahmstorf.
The five separate datasets, when combined, allow researchers to see through the individual complications and uncertainties that a single dataset may have. Of the five datasets, three were surface records collected by NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Hadley Centre/Climate Research Unit in the UK, while the remaining two datasets were gathered by satellite microwave sensors in the lower troposphere.
“The unabated warming is powerful evidence that we can expect further temperature increase in the next few decades, emphasizing the urgency of confronting the human influence on the climate,” says Grant Foster, lead author of the study.