One of the studies singled out in the commentary was produced by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists led by Thomas Karl, who directs the agency's National Climatic Data Center.
Karl's team believes some historical records of ocean temperatures are flawed, and they corrected them accordingly. The result of that analysis led them to conclude in a paper published last year in Science that warming during the early 2000s was "far more similar" to the longer-term trends "than previously estimated."
That surprise finding prompted Rep. Lamar Smith, a Republican from Texas who is chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, to aggressively push for access to the government scientist's emails, part of an investigation that others have characterized as a witch hunt.
Smith has argued that the NOAA study was "expedited to fit" the Obama Administration's "aggressive" climate policies - a claim the agency strongly denies.
Karl on Wednesday stood by his work, saying "there is no disagreement" that temperatures and warming rates vary between decades. "We showed that one could not claim that the long-term warming trend was significantly different from the shorter period," he said.