A research group from the University of Washington has identified a problem with one of the three satellite temperature records.
The satellite temperature record put out by the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH), which is one of three data sets that goes back to 1979 was found to have a data calibration problem.
For instance, the UAH lower tropospheric temperature record is frequently cited by climate change skeptics, since it only shows a 0.13 F per decade warming in the tropics, while surface measurements show the increase to be 0.21 F per decade, according to the University of Washington.
The other two satellite records of the troposphere, which are from Remote Sensing Systems and NOAA indicate a decadal warming trend in the tropics of 0.26 F and 0.33 respectively.
The NOAA-9 satellite.
The research team led by Stephen Po-Chedley, a UW graduate student in atmospheric sciences and Qiang Fu, a UW professor of atmospheric sciences found that the University of Alabama-Huntiville incorrectly factors in the changing temperature from a particular satellite (NOAA-9).
The UW team was the first to come up with a calculation to correct the error. When the calculation was applied, the UAH decadal trend rose to 0.21F, which is much more in line with the other satellite trends and the surface trend.
Now, the big question is whether or not UAH accepts the UW correction.
The paper does not resolve all the discrepancies among the records, and researchers will continue to look at ways to reconcile those conflicts, according to the UW article.
To read about the finer details of this study you can go to the University of Washington news article.
Also, there is a very informative FAQ section about satellite temperature measurements from the University of Washington right here.
This paper will appear in the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology this month.
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