A major new climate study in the journal Nature got worldwide media coverage for finding that the oceans warmed dramatically faster than previously thought — but now the researchers have retracted that conclusion after a man in the United Kingdom blogged about flaws he discovered in the paper.
Just two weeks after publication, the study authors have revised their paper, and now conclude that the oceans are warming fast -- but at the same rate as other measurements have found.
A study co-author took responsibility for the error. “I accept responsibility for these oversights because it was my role to ensure that details of the measurements were correctly understood and taken up by coauthors,” study co-author Ralph Keeling wrote in an explanation of the revision.
The error was first discovered by Nic Lewis, a retired British man who holds a bachelors degree in math from the University of Cambridge and who reads science papers for fun. He has also written a couple of published papers of his own on climate science.
“I've always liked to understand the world and to check whether people's research makes sense to me. Once I find something that seems wrong to me, I like to get to the bottom of it,” Lewis told Fox News.
Lewis said the incident should serve as a cautionary tale.