A group of international scientists is walking back major claims they’d made in the journal Nature about the rate at which the earth’s oceans are warming. A newly published note from the study’s co-author, Ralph Keeting, makes it plain that these researchers still believe the oceans are warming at an alarming rate, but they now acknowledge that procedural mistakes “that came to our attention” created an unacceptably large margin of error in their results.
That “came to our attention” line conceals the most important aspect of the story. These scientists work out of Princeton University, the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research, and various international institutions that make up the much lionized “scientific consensus” on climate change. And they had their landmark study debunked by an independent global-warming skeptic of no institutional standing named Nicholas Lewis.
Where did Lewis debunk the doomsayers? No, not in the esteemed pages of Naturebut in a blog post at a website called Climate Etc., a small, dissenting dot in the vast universe of online science discussion. Lewis wrote: “The findings of the…paper were peer-reviewed and published in the world’s premier scientific journal and were given wide coverage in the English-speaking media.” He went on: “Despite this, a quick review of the first page of the paper was sufficient to raise doubts as to the accuracy of its results. Just a few hours of analysis and calculations, based only on published information, was sufficient to uncover apparently serious (but surely inadvertent) errors in the underlying calculations.”