The Claim: Study Shows Global Warming Has Slowed Significantly Over Past 20 Years
World average temperatures have risen nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 1800s, and the the rate of warming has increased considerably over the past 40 years.
Always a Blog circulating on social media claims that a recently published study shows that warming has slowed in recent decades.
The blog refers to a study recently published in the journal JGR Atmospheres.
However, the claim distorts the study.
The study the authors say their paper does not show that warming has slowed significantly over the past 20 years. Moreover, the document, which introduces a new data processing technique, only tangentially addresses the issues raised in the message.
USA TODAY has reached out to the blog author and a social media user who shared the post for comment.
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Study introduces new data processing technique and supports recent warming
Peter Thornea Maynooth University professor who was one of the study’s authors, said the paper in no way supports the claim that global warming slowed after the late 1990s.
The rate at which global temperatures are changing wasn’t even the topic of the article, said Thorne, who was also the author of a 2021-2022 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to USA TODAY in an email. The article mainly introduces a new method of processing historical weather balloon data, he said.
The data presented in the document agrees with the global warming trend reported by NASA, NOAA and other climate agencieshe said.
Data from these agencies actually show a marked increase in the rate of warming over the past 20 years, according to Zeke Hausfatherresearcher at Berkeley Earth, a climate data organization.
“The rate of warming over the past 21 years – 2001-2021 – is much faster than the period 1980-2000,” he told USA TODAY in an email.
For example, data from Berkeley Earth shows the globe warmed about 40% faster between 2001 and 2021 than between 1980 and 2000, he said. In the same way, NOAA data shows the Earth has warmed 56% faster in the past 20 years than in the previous two decades.
Fabio Madonnathe study’s lead author and a researcher at Italy’s National Research Council, agreed with Thorne that the social media claims misrepresented the article.
“I hope people on social media … will be encouraged to be more careful when reading an article,” he told USA TODAY in an email.
Our opinion: False
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that a study shows that global warming has slowed significantly over the past 20 years. The study in question presents a new data processing technique and does not support the argument that warming has slowed in the past 20 years. Moreover, climatologists claim that the rate of global warming has actually increased since the late 1990s.
Our fact-checking sources:
- Peter ThorneMay 31-June 5, email exchange with USA TODAY
- Federico ServaMay 31, email exchange with USA TODAY
- Fabio MadonnaMay 31, email exchange with USA TODAY
- Zeke HausfatherJune 3, email exchange with USA TODAY
- JGR Atmospheres, December 28, 2021, The new HARMonization Radiosonde Dataset (RHARM) of radiosonde homogenized temperature, humidity and wind profiles with uncertainties
- NASA Earth Observatory, accessed June 2 A Changing World: Global Temperatures
- NOAA Climate.gov, March 15, 2021, Climate change: global temperature
- NASA Vital Signs of the Planet, accessed June 3 Global temperature
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