Thomas R. Karl

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Thomas R. Karl (born 22 November 1951, in Evergreen Park, Illinois) is the former director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).[1] He joined the National Climate Centre in 1980, and when that became the National Climatic Data Center, he continued as a researcher, becoming a Lab Chief, Senior Scientist and ultimately Director of the Center. When it merged with other centers to become NCEI in 2015, he became its first director. He retired on 4 August 2016.[2]

Global warming hiatus debate[edit]

Karl was the lead on a study on the question of the possible existence of a hiatus in global warming, as discussed in the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report . In the study, published in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science journal in June 2015 and based on previously published datasets, they found no indication of a slowdown, even in the period from 1998 to 2012 which had been highlighted by the IPCC.[3][4][5][6] This analysis incorporated the latest homogenization corrections for known biases in ocean temperature measurements as published by others in NOAA's Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperature dataset version 4, and land temperatures from the new International Surface Temperature Initiative dataset, integrated with NOAA’s Global Historical Climatology Network.[4][7] Scientists working on other datasets welcomed this study, though the view was expressed at the time that the short term warming trend had been slower than in previous periods of the same length.[8] After he published these results, Karl was attacked by climate change denialists, including Lamar Smith, chair of the House Science Committee. In 2017 the findings of the Karl et al. study were confirmed by another group of scientists using different methodologies.[9][10][11]



  • Editor Journal of Climate
  • Associate Editor Climatic Change
  • National Research Council
  • Climate Research Committee (1991–present)
  • Panel on EOSDIS (1992–94)
  • Panel on Policy Implications of Greenhouse Warming (1990–1992)
  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: Lead Author 1995, 1992, 1990
  • Public Affairs: Numerous news media interviews, testimony to U.S. Congress and briefings to cabinet-level officials and Vice President of the US.


  • Karl, T.R., R.W. Knight, and B. Baker. 2000. The record breaking global temperatures of 1997 and 1998: Evidence for an increase in the rate of global warming. Geophysical Research Letters 27(March 1):719-722. (press release)


  1. ^ "NESDIS Organizational Chart as of 02/ 19/ 15". NOAA. February 19, 2015. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved August 20, 2015.
  2. ^ "Tom Karl Retires After Nearly 41 Years of Service". National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) formerly known as National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). 4 August 2016. Retrieved 12 March 2017.
  3. ^ Karl, Thomas R.; Arguez, Anthony; Huang, Boyin; Lawrimore, Jay H.; McMahon, James R.; Menne, Matthew J.; Peterson, Thomas C.; Vose, Russell S.; Zhang, Huai-Min (26 June 2015). "Possible artifacts of data biases in the recent global surface warming hiatus". Science. 348 (6242): 1469–1472. doi:10.1126/science.aaa5632. PMID 26044301.American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  4. ^ a b "The Recent Global Surface Warming Hiatus". NOAA. 4 June 2015. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  5. ^ "Scientists Cast Doubt On An Apparent 'Hiatus' In Global Warming". National Public Radio. June 4, 2015. Retrieved June 13, 2015.
  6. ^ "Global warming 'pause' didn't happen, study finds". The Guardian. 2015-06-04. Retrieved June 13, 2015.
  7. ^ Johnson, Scott K. (24 January 2016). "Thorough, not thoroughly fabricated: The truth about global temperature data". Ars Technica UK. Retrieved 29 January 2016.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  8. ^ "US scientists: Global warming pause 'no longer valid'". BBC News. 2015-06-04. Retrieved June 13, 2015.
  9. ^ "New study confirms NOAA finding of faster global warming". The Guardian. 4 January 2017. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  10. ^ "New analysis shows Lamar Smith's accusations on climate data are wrong". Arstechnica. 4 January 2017. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  11. ^ Hausfather, Zeke; et al. (2017). "Assessing recent warming using instrumentally homogeneous sea surface temperature records". Science Advances. 3 (1): e1601207. doi:10.1126/sciadv.1601207. PMC 5216687. PMID 28070556.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2004-08-23. Retrieved 2004-09-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

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