Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Stratosphere Temperature Data Support Scientists' Proof For Global Warming

Date:
November 29, 2004
Source:
University Of Washington
Summary:
A new interpretation for temperature data from satellites, published earlier this year, raised controversy when its authors claimed it eliminated doubt that, on average, the lower atmosphere is getting warmer as fast as the Earth's surface. Now, in another study headed by the same researcher to be published Dec. 15 in the Journal of Climate, direct temperature data from other scientists has validated the satellite interpretation.

A new interpretation for temperature data from satellites, published earlier this year, raised controversy when its authors claimed it eliminated doubt that, on average, the lower atmosphere is getting warmer as fast as the Earth's surface.

Related Articles


Now, in another study headed by the same researcher to be published Dec. 15 in the Journal of Climate, direct temperature data from other scientists has validated the satellite interpretation.

A team headed by Qiang Fu, a University of Washington atmospheric sciences associate professor, earlier examined measurements collected from January 1979 through December 2001 by devices called microwave-sounding units on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellites. Different channels of the microwave-sounding units measure radiation at different frequencies, providing data for different layers of the atmosphere.

In the case of the troposphere, the layer from the surface to an altitude of about 7.5 miles, where most weather occurs, it was believed there had been less warming than what was recorded at the surface. However, Fu's team determined the satellite readings of the troposphere were imprecise because about one-fifth of the signal actually came from a higher atmosphere layer called the stratosphere, which for the last few decades has been cooling several times faster than the troposphere has been warming. The group devised a method to remove the stratosphere signal from the satellite data and was left with results that closely matched the warming at the surface. That work was published in May in the journal Nature.

However, critics contended the method overcompensated for the cooling effects of the stratosphere and thus overstated the amount of warming in the troposphere. The criticisms did not appear in peer-reviewed journals.

In the new study, Fu and Celeste Johnson, a UW atmospheric sciences graduate student, used direct stratosphere temperature measurements to examine the contamination from the stratosphere in the satellite channel that measures troposphere temperatures. They also used the same data to evaluate their method for removing the stratosphere contamination. The data they used came from scientists at NOAA and the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research in England.

Using the direct stratosphere temperature trend profiles from 1979 through 2001, Fu's team found that the stratosphere contamination in the satellite channel measuring the troposphere amounted to about a minus one-tenth of a degree Celsius per decade. They used their new method to remove the contamination, leaving an influence from the stratosphere of less than one-hundredth of a degree on troposphere temperature trends. The results match closely with what would be expected from the Fu team's new interpretation of satellite data.

"These results are consistent with the results that the Nature paper gets," Fu said. "It is an independent check of the problem because we used completely independent data sets. The independent observations agree with our conclusions, and that's quite powerful evidence."

The Fu team's work indicates the troposphere has been warming at about two-tenths of a degree Celsius, or nearly one-third of a degree Fahrenheit, per decade. That closely resembles measurements of warming at the surface, something climate models have suggested would result if the warmer surface temperatures are the result of greenhouse gases.

The findings are important because, for years, satellite data inconsistent with warming at the surface have fueled the debate about whether climate change is actually occurring.

If contamination of troposphere signals by those from the stratosphere isn't taken into account for the last 25 years, Fu said, estimates of how much warming actually occurred in the troposphere during that time would be off by 40 percent to 70 percent.

###

Fu's work is supported in part by the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and NOAA.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Washington. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Washington. "Stratosphere Temperature Data Support Scientists' Proof For Global Warming." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 November 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041129113717.htm>.
University Of Washington. (2004, November 29). Stratosphere Temperature Data Support Scientists' Proof For Global Warming. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041129113717.htm
University Of Washington. "Stratosphere Temperature Data Support Scientists' Proof For Global Warming." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041129113717.htm (accessed March 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Antarctic Ice Is Melting Faster Than Ever

Antarctic Ice Is Melting Faster Than Ever

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) — A new study of nearly two decades of satellite data shows Antarctic ice shelves are losing more mass faster every year. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Homes Near Landslide in Washington

Raw: Homes Near Landslide in Washington

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) — Aerial footage from KOMO shows several homes near a landslide in Washington. KOMO reports that at least one of the homes has been damaged. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Clean-Up Follows Deadly Weather in Okla.

Clean-Up Follows Deadly Weather in Okla.

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) — Gov. Mary Fallin has declared a state of emergency for 25 Oklahoma counties after powerful storms rumbled across the state causing one death, numerous injuries and widespread damage. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least Four Dead After Floods in Northern Chile

At Least Four Dead After Floods in Northern Chile

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) — At least four people have been killed by severe flooding in northern Chile after rains battered the Andes mountains and swept into communities below. Rob Muir reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins