Study Suggests that Arctic Warming Rate Higher than Previously Thought

    FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The Arctic warmed at a higher rate than previously estimated, according to a new study refuting the concept of a climate change hiatus between 1998 and 2012.

    In a new study published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Nature Climate Change, scientists analyzed temperature data collected from buoys drifting in the Arctic Ocean to create a more accurate average. Previous gaps in the Arctic temperature data may have contributed to the idea that warming had slowed, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported .

    Scientists collected the new data set of surface temperatures to recalculate the average global temperatures from 1998-2012, which led to changing the assumption of a slower warming rate, said Xiangdong Zhang, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Alaska's International Arctic Research Center.

    The rate of global warming continued to rise at the higher rate of 0.112 degrees Celsius (0.2 degrees Fahrenheit) per decade, Zhang said. The data confirmed that warming did not pause, he said.

    Previous studies averaged data under the assumption that surface air temperatures behave in a similar fashion to those at lower latitudes, according to the study. Climate change in the Arctic has demonstrated "characteristics distinct in many aspects due to local feedback processes," according to the study.

    Zhang said that many scientists didn't consider the Arctic large enough to greatly influence the average global temperatures until recently.

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