JOHN BAPST HIGH SCHOOL
: Luis Adrian Vega Alvarez
1.1. One of the most vigorously debated topics on Earth is the issue of climate change, and the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) data centers are central to answering some of the most pressing global change questions that remain unresolved. The National Climatic Data Center contains the instrumental and paleoclimatic records that can precisely define the nature of climatic fluctuations at time scales of a century and longer.
Among the diverse kinds of data platforms whose data contribute to NCDC's resources are: Ships, buoys, weather stations, weather balloons, satellites, radar and many climate proxy records such as tree rings and ice cores. The National Oceanographic Data Center contains the subsurface ocean data which reveal the ways that heat is distributed and redistributed over the planet.
Knowing how these systems are changing and how they have changed in the past is crucial to understanding how they will change in the future. And, for climate information that extends from hundreds to thousands of years, paleoclimatology data, also available from the National Climatic Data Center, helps to provide longer term perspectives.
Listed below is information based upon common questions addressed to climate scientists (based on IPCC reports and other research) in common, understandable language. This list will be periodically updated, as new scientific evidence comes to light.
The theory of Global Warming will be supported by an analysis of historical temperature records for the past fisty years
Obtaining the globally averaged temperature from weather station data has a well-known problem: there are some gaps in the data, especially in the polar regions and in parts of Africa. As long as the regions not covered warm up like the rest of the world, that does not change the global temperature curve. But errors in global temperature trends arise if these areas evolve differently from the global mean. That’s been the case over the last 15 years in the Arctic, which has warmed exceptionally fast, as shown by satellite and reanalysis data and by the massive sea ice loss there. This problem was analysed for the first time by Rasmus in 2008 at RealClimate, and it was later confirmed by other authors in the scientific literature.
Cowtan and Way apply their method to the HadCRUT4 data, which are state-of-the-art except for their treatment of data gaps. For 1997-2012 these data show a relatively small warming trend of only 0.05 °C per decade – which has often been misleadingly called a “warming pause”.
But after filling the data gaps this trend is 0.12 °C per decade and thus exactly equal to the long-term trend mentioned by the IPCC.
The corrected data (bold lines) are shown in the graph compared to the uncorrected ones (thin lines). The temperatures of the last three years have become a little warmer, the year 1998 a little cooler. The trend of 0.12 °C is at first surprising, because one would have perhaps expected that the trend after gap filling has a value close to the GISS data, i.e. 0.08 °C per decade.
Examination of changes in climate extremes requires long-term daily or even hourly data sets which until recently have been scarce for many parts of the globe. However these data sets have become more widely available allowing research into changes in temperature and precipitation extremes on global and regional scales. Global changes...
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