New analysis from The Met Office and the University of East Anglia suggest that, because of the inclusion of Arctic data and updated sea surface temperatures, recent temperature increases have been underestimated.
Known as HadCRUT, the series includes numbers from 1850 to the present day, making it one of the most comprehensive global temperature trend resources in existence.
HadCRUT compiles data from the sea surface temperature records of the Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office and the land surface temperature records compiled by the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, hence its name.
The latest version, HadCRUT4, is billed as more accurate than its prequel, HadCRUT3, in that it includes more extensive data from notoriously sparse and rapidly diminishing region, the Arctic.
Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit, said, “HadCRUT is underpinned by observations and we’ve previously been clear it may not be fully capturing changes in the Arctic because we have had so little data from the area.
“For the latest version we have included observations from more than 400 stations across the Arctic, Russia and Canada. This has led to better representation of what’s going on in the large geographical region.”
In a video explaining the updated HadCRUT series, Peter Stott, head of climate monitoring and attribution at the Met Office, outlined the main alterations between the two versions.
“The main differences […] occur in two places: in the middle part of the twentieth century and in more recent years”, he said.
“This is because of our new analysis of the different ways in which our sea surface temperatures have been measured in time.”
“The high latitudes in the northern hemisphere are warming more rapidly than the global average and while this has resulted in our new HadCRUT4 global temperatures, the temperatures are slightly warmer than they were in HadCRUT3.
“But overall the message in the longer terms from both of these records means the same and there’s been an overall warming of about three quarters of a degree since 1900.”
Back in December, the Met Office warned against the impact of a global temperature rise. Research suggested that if nothing is done to reduce emissions, temperatures will rise between two and five degrees Celsius this century, leading to a change in rainfall patterns, more pressure on crop production and an increase in flood risks.
If the world continues with its business-as-usual attitude, temperatures will continue to rise. Cutting down carbon emissions is a priority, which is why it is so important for the Government to embrace renewable energy.
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