Speed Reads


Climate change deniers love to talk about a recent 'pause' in global warming. A new study says it didn't happen.

For the last several years, there has been a great deal of media and political attention paid to a supposed "pause" in global warming. From about 1998, it seemed as though the rate of atmospheric temperature increase had slowed somewhat.

A new paper in Science has reexamined the temperature data, and concluded that the whole thing might be nothing more than a measurement error. Make some corrections to global temperature calculations, and the pause disappears:

However, it would be a mistake to overstate the results. As climatologist Gavin Schmidt points out, the adjustments in the paper are quite small, and the take-home message should be that the evidence for the pause was extremely weak in the first place. When examining complex systems, one should always use longer time series when possible, and not panic over every small deviation in new data.