It has long been speculated that global warming slowed down from 1998 until 2012. This period is referred to as the global warming hiatus, and it has been a subject of much debate among climate researchers.
Missing Arctic temperature data brought about the global warming hiatus theory, but now researchers have filled in the gaps to show that it is in fact incorrect.
The study was led Xiangdong Zhang, an atmospheric scientist with the University of Fairbanks, Alaska’s International Arctic Research Center. Zhang and his colleagues analyzed temperatures in the Arctic and created a more accurate dataset of surface temperatures around the world.
Zhang’s research shows that there was not a hiatus, and instead, global warming continued through the late 1990s and 2000s.
The researchers gathered Arctic temperature data from buoys in the Arctic Ocean and incorporated that data into a worldwide dataset. The buoys were part of the International Arctic Buoy Program at the University of Washington.
This dataset allowed the researchers to estimate temperature averages better.
The results of the Arctic analysis show that temperatures have been rising steadily over the years instead of slowing down and picking back up again.
“We recalculated the average global temperatures from 1998-2012 and found that the rate of global warming had continued to rise at 0.112C per decade instead of slowing down to 0.05C per decade as previously thought,” said Zhang.
Zhang specifically focused on the Arctic because previous studies had largely excluded the region from a global dataset. Zhang’s research shows that the Arctic is an important factor in mapping the effects of global warming.