According to climate hiatus theory, global warming slowed down or paused in the past 15 years. This theory was hailed by climate change skeptics as a proof that man-made global warming was a hoax, while scientists were puzzled by the phenomenon too and tried to explain it in various ways.
Some of the most popular explanations to the climate hiatus were volcanic eruptions that blocked sunlight from reaching Earth and changes in oceanic currents. But, a group of Stanford scientists had a different approach. They conducted a study to see whether the pause in global warming was real or not, rather than to provide another explanation to the phenomenon.
Bala Rajaratnam, senior researcher involved in the study and statistics expert from Stanford University, said that he and his team sifted through data on changes in global temperatures from the past 15 years and compared the findings with data on previous global temperatures.
Rajaratnam,’s team noticed that there was little data from the period when the hiatus occurred, so they had to invent a new statistical method to continue with their study. Next, scientists applied their method on the most popular hypotheses about the hiatus to see if they still stand true.
Scientists planned to learn whether global warming ‘paused’ or simply slowed down in the past 15 years and whether global temperatures changed in that period. Noah Diffenbaugh, another Stanford researcher and senior author of the study, said that the statistical data clearly showed that the hiatus did not happen in the last 15 years.
Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reached the same conclusion early this summer when they found that the hiatus was the result of biases and errors in temperature measurements worldwide. NOAA team said that they were able to correct those errors and learned that temperature records did not back the idea of a climate hiatus.
But the Stanford team said that they learned the hiatus never occurred from the uncorrected temperature records. NOAA researchers also reported several months ago that they didn’t find “strong evidence” for a pause or slowdown in rising temperatures.
Stanford researchers were pleased because the collaboration between Earth scientists and statisticians debunked a invalid theory that divided for quite some time the scientific community.
The statistical study was published Thursday in the journal Climatic Change.
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