(EnviroNews USA Headline News Desk) — A study titled, Tropospheric Warming Over The Past Two Decades, was published May 24, 2017, in Nature Scientific Reports. The paper specifically refutes Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt’s post-confirmation climate change denials and singles him out by name. In January after his confirmation hearing, Pruitt wrote Senate comments reading, “Over the past two decades, satellite data indicates there has been a leveling off of warming.” In response, the study’s authors write, “We test this claim here.”
The research is comprised of evaluations of satellite data from 1979 to 2016. Three data sets were used, bringing together observations from the Center for Satellite Applications and Research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the University of Alabama at Huntsville and Remote Sensing Systems – a research company that processes satellite data.
The scientists compared 20-year periods of data with climate simulations that excluded human-produced greenhouse gas emissions. They assert this allowed them to determine that global temperatures are increasing much more than would be predicted solely from natural causes.
Ultimately, the researchers found the global warming trend continues and is significantly anthropogenic — meaning caused by humans. “Tropospheric warming trends over recent 20-year periods are always significantly larger (at the 10 percent level or better) than model estimates of 20-year trends arising from natural internal variability,” the authors write in the abstract. In other words, the warming trends observed are significantly larger than they would be if human activities weren’t a factor in the equation.
“In my opinion, when incorrect science is elevated to the level of formal congressional testimony and makes its way into the official Congressional Record, climate scientists have some responsibility to test specific claims that were made, determine whether those claims are correct or not, and publish their results,” Lead Author Benjamin Santer of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory told The Washington Post.
Santer and three of the paper’s co-authors are affiliated with the Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison (PCMDI) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. The other co-authors are from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Remote Sensing Systems and the University of Washington’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences.
Pruitt’s January statement is just one example of his many climate-denying and anti-science activities. He was the attorney general (AG) in Oklahoma, a top oil and gas producer, from 2010 until 2017. In this role, he sued the EPA he now runs at least 13 times, in some cases, attempting to overturn air and water pollution regulations.
As of June 1, 2017, his LinkedIn profile still describes him as the AG and, “a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.” On May 5, at the behest of Pruitt, the EPA began abruptly dismissing science advisors from its Board of Scientific Counselors (BSC). In response, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on May 8 for documents related to the non-renewal of the scientists’ terms at the EPA.
While the authors of the climate analysis acknowledge there has been less climate warming over the last two decades, they attribute this to natural climate variations. Santer said the researchers still “judge the most recent warming to be statistically significant.”
For example, the El Niño events of 1997 and 1998 caused notable temporary increases in warmth at the start of the most recent twenty-year period. Temperatures often drop following such weather events. The Los Angeles Times reports, “Short-term ocean dynamics patterns, such as those of El Niño, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, move and store heat in ways that lead to surface temperature fluctuations that can last years or even decades.”
Gavin Schmidt, head of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies at NASA, stated in an email to the Washington Post, “The trends over the whole period are clear. This doesn’t however imply that a) there aren’t still issues with the satellite retrievals (there may well be), and b) that models did a perfect job over this time period.”
Finally, the research summary asserts, “When examined over the full period of record, long-term tropospheric warming far exceeds current estimates of natural internal climate variability. Our results support and strengthen previous findings of a large human-caused contribution to warming.”
As scientists struggle to make their research findings heard, President Trump will likely keep his promise to pull out of the Paris Accord, despite widespread support for the international environmental agreement, according to senior US officials. Trump announced that he will share his decision at 3 p.m. on June 1.
The Trump Administration is also accused of blatantly engaging in climate change censorship within government agencies. In 2012, Trump famously tweeted, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing noncompetitive.”