Skewed data from ships measuring sea temperatures after the Second World War might explain an apparent abrupt world cooling in 1945 that had been a mystery in a century of global warming, scientists said yesterday.

A better understanding of how ship-based thermometers, buckets, buoys and satellites record sea water temperatures might also mean a slight upwards revision of the pace of climate change in the late 20th century, they said.

“A cold snap explained,” the journal Nature said of research by U.S. and British scientists that used naval history to account for the apparent sharp 0.3 C temperature drop in late 1945.

It was the only sudden cooling since global records began in the 1850s that could not be explained by volcanic eruptions such as Krakatoa in 1883 or Mount Pinatubo in 1991 that can dim the sun with dust injected high into the atmosphere, they said.

The scientists said the change did not affect overall understanding of global warming.

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