An widely-circulated study which concluded that global warming is far worse than previously thought has been called into question by a math error, reports the Daily Caller's Michael Bastasch.
Princeton scientist Laure Resplandy and researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography concluded in October that the Earth's oceans have retained 60% more heat than previously thought over the last 25 years, suggesting global warming was much worse than previously believed.
The report was covered or referenced by MSM outlets worldwide, including the Washington Post, New York Times, BBC, Reuters and others.
The Washington Post, for example, reported: "The higher-than-expected amount of heat in the oceans means more heat is being retained within Earth’s climate system each year, rather than escaping into space. In essence, more heat in the oceans signals that global warming is more advanced than scientists thought."
The New York Times at least hedged their reporting, claiming that the estimates, "if proven accurate, could be another indication that the global warming of the past few decades has exceeded conservative estimates and has been more closely in line with scientists’ worst-case scenarios."
Unfortunately for the Princeton-Scripps team, it appears that their report has been proven inaccurate.
Independent scientist Nic Lewis found the study had “apparently serious (but surely inadvertent) errors in the underlying calculations.” Lewis’ findings were quickly corroborated by another researcher. -Daily Caller
"Just a few hours of analysis and calculations, based only on published information, was sufficient to uncover apparently serious (but surely inadvertent) errors in the underlying calculations," wrote Lewis in a blog post published on climate scientist Judith Curry's Climate Etc. website.
After correcting the math error, Lewis found that the paper's rate of oceanic warming "is about average compared with the other estimates they showed, and below the average for 1993–2016."
Lewis's conclusion was replicated and supported by University of Colorado professor, Roger Pike, Jr., who tweeted his work.
Lewis found the study’s authors, led by Princeton University scientist Laure Resplandy, erred in calculating the linear trend of estimated ocean warming between 1991 and 2016. Lewis has also criticized climate model predictions, which generally over-predict warming.
Resplandy and her colleagues estimated ocean heat by measuring the volume of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the atmosphere. The results: the oceans took up 60 percent more heat than previously thought. The study only sent alarm bells ringing, especially in the wake of the United Nations’ latest climate assessment. -Daily Caller
Lewis is correct that the linear trends reported by Resplandy et al are not matched by what the data indicate. See figure below which I just created based on data provided by Resplandy et al.— Roger Pielke Jr. (@RogerPielkeJr) November 6, 2018
Mistakes happen in science, that's no crime.
What matters more is what you do next. /END pic.twitter.com/ylFqZngbmm
Resplandy has yet to respond to Lewis regarding the errors her found in her math, writing on Tuesday "To date I have had no substantive response from her, despite subsequently sending a further email containing the key analysis sections from a draft of this article."
Lead of Princeton press release on Resplandy et al. was that IPCC has gotten things wrong & repeated by NYT, WP, E&E, USAT etc.— Roger Pielke Jr. (@RogerPielkeJr) November 6, 2018
We've known peril in relying on single studies to overturn decades of assessed literature
Signature moment now for climate folkshttps://t.co/i7t6WOz28K
Similarly, niether Resplandy nor co-author Ralph Keeling responded to the Daily Caller's request for comment.