Global warming proponents can catch up on the sleep they lost worrying about the planet getting hotter with each passing day. A NASA study which analyzes satellite data from the years 2000 through 2011, published in the peer-reviewed science journal Remote Sensing, reports that Earth's atmosphere is allowing far more heat to be released into space than global warming proponents' computer models have predicted.
The data also supports prior studies which suggested that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide trap is far lesser than what has been claimed by the global warming doomsters.
The discrepancy between the model-based forecasts of rapid global warming and meteorological data showing a slower rate of warming has given rise to heated debates for more than two decades.
"The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show," Dr. Roy Spencer, study co-author and principal research scientist in the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville, said in a press release. "There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans."
Not only does the atmosphere release more energy than previously thought, it starts releasing it earlier in a warming cycle. "At the peak, satellites show energy being lost while climate models show energy still being gained," Spencer said.
When applied to long-term climate change, the research suggests that the climate is less sensitive to warming due to increased carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere than climate modelers have theorized. A major underpinning of global warming theory is that the slight warming caused by enhanced greenhouse gases should change cloud cover in ways that cause additional warming, which would be a positive feedback cycle.
Numerous decisive factors, including clouds, solar radiation, heat rising from the oceans and different time lags make it impossible to accurately identify which piece of Earth's changing climate is a feedback from man-made greenhouse gases.
"There are simply too many variables to reliably gauge the right number for that," Spencer said. "The main finding from this research is that there is no solution to the problem of measuring atmospheric feedback, due mostly to our inability to distinguish between radiative forcing and radiative feedback in our observations."
The research team used surface temperature data gathered by the Hadley Climate Research Unit in Britain. The radiant energy data was collected by the Clouds and Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) instruments aboard NASA's Terra satellite. The six climate models were chosen from those used by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.