The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) unleashed a huge controversy two years ago with a paper refuting a slow down in ocean warming. Now a group of researchers have used independent data to prove the notion of a “global warming hiatus” in recent years was in fact not true.

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According to, the 2015 study by NOAA showed that modern buoys used to measure ocean temperature have a tendency to show slightly cooler temperatures than the previous ship-based systems did, even when measuring the same part of the ocean at the same time. And as the new system replaced the old one, the researchers realized that some of the “real-world warming” was missed in the transition.

After they corrected for what they called a “cold bias,” the NOAA researchers published a paper in the journal Science stating that oceans have actually warmed by 0.12 degrees C per decade since the year 2000 – or nearly twice as fast as the as the 0.07 degrees C per decade in the previous 30 years. This showed that the “global warming hiatus” many thought was happening actually was not.

Related: The oceans stalled global warming, but they’re about to unleash the heat

The findings caused a huge kerfuffle amongst climate change skeptics, who attacked the NOAA researchers – and led a House of Representatives committee to subpoena emails from the scientists involved.

But this recent study, conducted by the University of California, Berkeley and Berkeley Earth and soon to be published as a paper in the journal Science Advances, uses independent data to show that despite the uproar by skeptics, the NOAA’s findings were correct. “Our results mean that essentially NOAA got it right, that they were not cooking the books,” lead author Zeke Hausfather, a graduate student in UC Berkeley’s Energy and Resources Group, told

Hausfather and his college Kevin Cowtan at the University of York in the UK extended the NOAA’s study by taking into account several different further kinds of water temperature data. The results they got matched the NOAA’s results exactly.

“In the grand scheme of things, the main implication of our study is on the hiatus, which many people have focused on, claiming that global warming has slowed greatly or even stopped,” Hausfather said. “Based on our analysis, a good portion of that apparent slowdown in warming was due to biases in the ship records.”


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