A new scientific study on climate change in the journal Nature has received worldwide media coverage of how oceans have warmed up dramatically than previously thought – but researchers have now pulled this conclusion after a man in the United Kingdom blogged about the mists he discovered in the paper.
Just two weeks after publication, the study authors revised their work, and now they conclude that the oceans are rapidly warming up – but with the same speed as other measurements.
The co-author of the study took responsibility for the error. "I accept responsibility for these failures, because my role was to ensure that measurement details are properly understood and co-authored," wrote researcher Ralph Keeling in an explanation of the audit.
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The error was first discovered by Nic Levis, a retired British man who holds a math degree from the University of Cambridge and who reads scientific works for entertainment. He also wrote several published papers on climate science.
"I've always loved to understand the world and to check if human research makes sense to me. Once I find something that seems to me to be wrong, I like to get to the bottom," Levis told Fox News.
Levis said the incident should serve as a warning story.
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"I think it shows that the fact that the study revises and publishes the prime minister's diary makes little assurance that his findings are valid," said Luis.
"I was a little surprised that neither the reviewers nor the editors noticed what seemed to me the obvious red flag on the page 1 list," he added.
Levis said that reviewers who approved the document may have been looking less carefully for mistakes, as the conclusion agrees with the typical belief that global warming is an extreme crisis.
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However, all involved, including Levis, agree that emissions of greenhouse gas emissions make up the ocean warming.
"People should not leave the impression that mistakes in this paper are questioning whether the interior of the ocean is warming up, which is obviously entirely or mainly due to emissions of harmful gases," said Luis.
The co-author of the study who took responsibility for the error also made that point.
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"Evidence of ocean warming continues to support millions of temperature readings across the oceans of the international Argo network of sensors," Killing told Fox News.
The Argo sensor network consists of nearly 4,000 floaters around the globe that observe the ocean. A study by Keeling and his co-authors tried to evaluate the ocean temperature in a completely different way – "using atmospheric oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) measurements … which increase as the ocean warmens and extinguishes."
Keeling said that such a study still has some value.
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"Our study still offers independent evidence that the ocean is heated. We accept that our method does not determine the amount of heating exactly as we used to," Killing said.
Keeling also acknowledged Levis to point out the mistake.
"The scientific process is self-governing when mistakes or new evidence is revealed. They whisper to Nic Levis for their role here," Keeling said.
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While the Earth was warming – government data show that the planet is nearly 2 ° F warmer than in the 1970s – researchers like Luis suggest that climate models are not so glamorous and that they can exaggerate warming.
"Climate science suffers from politicizing," Levis told Fox News. "It is too much affected by the idea of consensus and models … warming will probably be less severe than global climate models say."
The author, Makim Lott, is the executive producer of Stossel TV and the creator of ElectionBettingOdds.com. Can be found on Twitter @ MakimLott