Sunday, December 23, 2012

Settled science update from West Antarctica: Software errors and calibration issues and "Much of the warming discovered in the new paper happened in the 1980s", oh my

West Antarctic Warming Faster Than Thought, Study Finds -
A paper released Sunday by the journal Nature Geoscience found that the temperature at a research station in the middle of West Antarctica has warmed by 4.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1958. That is roughly twice as much as scientists previously thought...
“The surprises keep coming,” said Andrew J. Monaghan, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., who took part in the study. “When you see this type of warming, I think it’s alarming.”
To try to get to the bottom of the question, David H. Bromwich of Ohio State University pulled together a team that focused on a single temperature record. At a lonely outpost called Byrd Station, in central West Antarctica, people and automated equipment have been keeping track of temperature and other weather variables since the late 1950s.

It is by far the longest weather record in that region, but it had intermittent gaps and other problems that had made many researchers wary of it. The Bromwich group decided to try to salvage the Byrd record.

They retrieved one of the sensors and recalibrated at the University of Wisconsin. They discovered a software error that had introduced mistakes into the record and then used computerized analyses of the atmosphere to fill the gaps.
Eric J. Steig, a University of Washington researcher who led the 2009 work, said in an interview that he considered his paper to have been supplanted by the new research. “I think their results are better than ours, and should be adopted as the best estimate,” he said...Much of the warming discovered in the new paper happened in the 1980s, around the same time the planet was beginning to warm briskly.
RealClimate: The heat is on in West Antarctica
It turns out that there were significant calibration issues and that correcting for them makes the temperature higher in the 1990s but somewhat lower in the 2000s (though still higher than in the 1960 – 1980s).

No comments: