Climate change deniers and skeptics are usually not much savvy with hard data if confronted to back their claims with reliable scientific evidence. More often than not, their dismissive attitude toward human-induced climate change relies on the fact that satellites in Earth’s atmosphere have been recording lower temperatures compared to the systems on the ground.

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But even that argument is now about to be invalidated by a new study that claims to have figured the underlying reason for this apparent discrepancy between satellite data and the data collected using land-based, as well as marine equipment.

As the study points out, the orbits of satellites around the Earth gradually decays over time because of continuous friction in the atmosphere. Eventually, the decay of orbit leads to a change in the duration each of these satellites takes to pass over any region. That, in turn, bears a significant effect on the measurement of temperature, it points out.

Dr. Carl Mears and Frank Wentz, the scientists behind this study, have made use of information from the satellites to develop a new method of correcting for the changes.

“The changes result in global-scale warming … about 30 per cent larger than our previous version of the dataset,” the scientists noted.

“This change is primarily due to the changes in the adjustment for drifting local measurement time. The new dataset shows more warming than most similar datasets constructed from satellites or radiosonde [weather balloon] data.”

The finding of the study has been published in the Journal of Climate.

Meanwhile, in his latest article on the Carbon Brief website, data scientist Dr. Zeke Hausfather has compiled the findings of Dr. Mears and Wentz and figured that the rate of global warming since 1998 has been at least 140% higher than previous satellite-based studies.

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“This new correction to the … data substantially undermines that argument. The new data actually shows more warming than has been observed on the surface, though still slightly less than predicted in most climate models,” Hausfather notes.