by Joshua Emerson Smith
after sunset in La Jolla on Wednesday.
Palmour IV / San Diego Union-Tribune)
Mathematician Nic Lewis, a global warming critic,
found problems on the very first page of a
peer-reviewed study published in the "world's
premier scientific journal".
This demonstrates the groupthink phenomenon among
global warmists when they cannot see the forest
through the trees.
Researchers with UC San Diego's Scripps Institution of
Oceanography and Princeton University recently walked
scientific findings published last
month that showed oceans have been heating up dramatically faster
than previously thought as a result of
In a paper (Quantification
of Ocean Heat Uptake from Changes in Atmospheric O²
published Oct. 31 in the journal Nature, researchers found
that ocean temperatures had warmed 60 percent more than outlined by
the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
However, the conclusion came under scrutiny after mathematician
Nic Lewis, a critic of the scientific consensus around
human-induced warming, posted
a critique of the paper on the blog
of Judith Curry, another well-known critic.
"The findings of
the... paper were peer reviewed and published in the world's
premier scientific journal and were given wide coverage in the
English-speaking media," Lewis wrote.
"Despite this, a
quick review of the first page of the paper was sufficient to
raise doubts as to the accuracy of its results."
Keeling, climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of
Oceanography, took full blame and thanked Lewis for alerting him
to the mistake.
"When we were
confronted with his insight it became immediately clear there
was an issue there," he said. "We're grateful to have it be
pointed out quickly so that we could correct it quickly."
Keeling said they have
since redone the calculations, finding the ocean is still likely
warmer than the estimate used by the IPCC.
However, that increase in
heat has a larger range of probability than initially thought -
between 10 percent and 70 percent, as other studies have already
"Our error margins
are too big now to really weigh in on the precise amount of
warming that's going on in the ocean," Keeling said. "We really
muffed the error margins."
A correction has been
submitted to the journal Nature.
According to the most recent IPCC report, climate emissions need to
be cut by 20 percent by 2030 and then zeroed out by 2075 to keep
warming from exceeding 2º Celsius (3.6º Fahrenheit) above
Authors of the recent study had previously claimed that emissions
levels in coming decades would need to be 25 percent lower to keep
warming under that 2-degree cap.
While papers are peer reviewed before they're published, new
findings must always be reproduced before gaining widespread
acceptance throughout the scientific community, said Gerald Meehl,
a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric
Research in Boulder, Colorado.
"This is how the
process works," he said. "Every paper that comes out is not
bulletproof or infallible. If it doesn't stand up under
scrutiny, you review the findings."
The report relied on a
novel approach that still has the potential to revolutionize how
scientists measure the ocean's temperature.
Much of the data on ocean temperatures currently relies on the
Argo array, robotic devices that float at different depths. The
program, which started in 2000, has gaps in coverage.
By comparison, Keeling and Laure Resplandy, a
researcher at Princeton University's Environmental Institute who
co-authored the report, calculated heat based on the amount of
oxygen and carbon dioxide rising off the ocean, filling round glass
flasks with air collected at research stations around the globe.
Keeling said they will continue to experiment with the data in
coming years in an attempt to fine-tune the data.
"It's a promising new
method, but we didn't get the precision right on the first
pass," he said.
The study is still the
first to confirm that the ocean is warming using a method
independent of direct ocean temperature measurements.