Global warming has become severe in the past few years. According to new research, scientists have found that satellites have been underestimated global warming in the past 40 years. Definitely, this is going to be a huge problem in the future because we lack true data about the actual situation of global warming.


Although basic physics equations control the interconnectivity between the temperature and the humidity in the air, temperature and moisture measurements that are used in climate models changes from this relationship. According to Ben Santer, a climate scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California, satellites used to take measurements in tropospheric regions have been underestimated the temperature or overestimated the moisture. But he said “It is difficult to say which definition is more accurate” while saying “There’s a big difference between the measured values and the actual values of ocean surface warming and tropospheric warming”. Complementary variables are variables that have a physical relationship with each other. In other words, the measurements that show the least warming might also be the least reliable.

Ben Santer and his team collected data and compared four different ratios of climate properties. They are,

  1. The ratio of tropical sea surface temperature to tropical water vapor
  2. Ratio of lower troposphere temperature to tropical water vapor
  3. The ratio of mid to upper troposphere temperature to tropical water vapor
  4. Ratio of mid to upper troposphere temperature to tropical sea surface temperature


In modeling systems, these ratios are strictly defined by using temperature and moisture-dependent laws. It needs more energy to warm up moist air than dry air because water absorbs a very large amount of heat. Warmer air can hold more moisture when comparing to cooler air. This is why we can sea morning due.

However, the final decision of the scientists was observations that are taken from satellites do not suppose to these well-defined laws.  Instead of that, they fell in a wide range, depending on which data set the researchers used. This means that the data sets which follow the physical rules governing moisture and heat are more accurate than other data sets. The most warming of the sea surface and troposphere were showed by the data sets that best followed the rules for water vapor and temperature ratio.

Whether it is the moisture side of the equation or the temperature side of the equation, more and more work should be done to find what’s wrong with these satellites and to fix them. As the final decision, using the models to test the feasibility of real-world situations can help researchers to track historical warming with more precision.


Definitely, these corrections in satellites will help to collect accurate data in the future and it will definitely help to get correct decisions about global warming at the correct time.

Feature image credit: A map of tropical water vapor from NASA. Research on water vapor and other climate features suggests that satellite measurements might have underestimated past warming. (Image credit: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)

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