News FocusGlobal Change

Among Global Thermometers, Warming Still Wins Out

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Science  25 Sep 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5385, pp. 1948-1949
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5385.1948

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Recent analyses show that the gap between the satellite temperature record and that of thermometers at the surface is more apparent than real. Although much was made of a 20-year-long satellite temperature record that showed a slight cooling, after considering the effects of El Niños and volcanoes and correcting for decay of the satellites' orbit, researchers are seeing not a cooling but a small warming, closer to that in surface records. Although the contrarians still aren't budging, a leading satellite analyst agrees that the satellite data are compatible with a slight warming trend because the discrepancy between satellite temperatures and model predictions of moderate greenhouse warming "isn't that large."