It’s conservatives’ favorite science-denying talking point: that global warming has slowed down, or even stopped altogether, over the last 15 years. It’s bogus, of course. Read Chris Mooney’s great feature for a full breakdown of how the myth has been spread. (Among other dishonest shenanigans, conservatives are using 1998 as their baseline because it was an unusually warm year due to El Niño.)
But there is a grain of truth to it: Average global surface-air temperatures have been rising at a slower rate than some climate scientists projected. A reason, as a new study published in Science on Thursday helps demonstrate, is that the oceans have been absorbing much of the heat.
The fact that the oceans are warming has already been established. As Grist’s John Upton explained earlier this year, previous studies have measured oceanic temperatures every year for the last few decades and demonstrated that the oceans are warming.