Errors were found in a recent study on ocean warming published in the scientific journal Nature, forcing the scientists responsible for the paper to redo their calculations, reported CNN.
Mistakes were found specifically in the data reporting the temperatures of the ocean, according to a news release from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. However, co-author Ralph Keeling claimed that the errors “do not invalidate the study’s methodology or the new insights into ocean biogeochemistry on which it is based.”
The original study concluded that “ocean warming is at the high end of previous estimates.” After publication, Keeling discovered two problems with the study that had to do with the measurement methods. According to CNN, the researchers used “measurements of atmospheric oxygen and carbon dioxide between 1991 and 2016 to produce an independent estimate of ocean heat uptake over that period.”
The research was published after the United Nations issued a report warning that global warming would reach disastrous levels in as little as 10 years and asked governments to make drastic changes “in all aspects of society.”
The U.N. specified that the planet would reach its threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2030, causing devastating natural disasters, including wildfires and floods, and precipitating food shortages around the world. Additionally, scientists warn that the rising ocean temperatures are killing off marine life.
The @IPCC_CH report on #GlobalWarming of 1.5°C is one of the most important #climatechange reports ever published. Limiting temperature increase requires unprecedented changes in society, but will have huge benefits. Every half a degree of warming matters. https://t.co/a7GOzVFv50 pic.twitter.com/p0wX5vYrA5— IPCC (@IPCC_CH) October 8, 2018
Keeling confirmed that the researchers behind the study were redoing the calculations to submit the correct data to the journal.
“We expect the combined effect of these two corrections to have a small impact on our calculations of overall heat uptake, but with larger margins of error. We are redoing the calculations and preparing author corrections for submission to Nature.”
Nature also issued a statement affirming that the accuracy of scientific recording is their main priority and that they assume responsibility for correcting any mistakes made in the papers they publish.
Despite the incorrect measurements, the paper noted key concerns with rising ocean temperatures. According to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), oceans absorb 90 percent of heat trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere. In addition to affecting wildlife, warmer oceans change ocean currents, increase sea ice melting, kill coral reefs, and provoke more powerful storms.
Another co-author of the study, Laurent Bopp, warned that the implications of the study are “bad news for the ocean itself, bad news for the ecosystem,” wrote CNN.
“Climate change is not only about the next decades to the end of the century. It will affect the earth for centuries and millennia after that.”