New Study Fills in Missing Piece of Global-Warming Science

A new study published in the journal Nature has filled in a crucial missing piece in the science of global warming — one that has served as a talking point for climate-change skeptics. At issue is a seeming discrepancy: The lower portion of the earth’s atmosphere, the troposphere, has not been warming as fast as models would predict based on the much faster warming of the earth’s surface. A team of researchers at the University of Washington and a federal lab in Maryland discovered that if they factored out the cooling effects of the atmosphere’s outer layer, the stratosphere, the models fell into line. While the skeptics were not mollified, many scientists hailed the study as an elegant answer to one of the remaining questions about climate change. They didn’t, however, hold out much hope that the study would affect policy.