Scientists from the University of Exeter, Penryn, UK have recently published a study called the “Global variation in diurnal asymmetry in temperature, cloud cover, specific humidity and precipitation and its association with leaf area index.”
Thus, they suggest that the daytime and night-time temperatures are being affected by global warming differently. Furthermore, base on their study, greater night-time warming is more common than greater daytime warming globally.
More than three decades (from 1983 to 2017) of climate data from all over the globe have been analyzed by the scientists for this research. Wherein the hourly records of temperature, cloud cover, and specific humidity and precipitation have been examined.
“Days warmed more quickly in some locations, and nights did in others – but the total area of disproportionately greater night-time warming was more than twice as large.”
-University of Exeter, on a Press Release, October 1, 2020
The Warming Asymmetry
The warming asymmetry, as the scientist calls it, has been driven by changing levels of cloud cover. According to the lead author of the study, Dr. Daniel Cox of the Environment and Sustainability Institute on Exeter’s Penryn Campus, “Warming asymmetry has potentially significant implications for the natural world.”
The Changing Levels of Cloud Cover
Increased Cloud Cover
- Cools the surface during the day
- Retains the warmth during the night
- Leads to greater night-time warming
Decreasing Cloud Cover
- Allows more warmth to reach the surface during the day
- Warmth is lost at night
“We demonstrate that greater night-time warming is associated with the climate becoming wetter,” said Dr. Cox. While greater daytime warming, on the other hand, is associated with drier conditions.
The researchers also looked at changes in vegetation growth and precipitation over the same period and here are some of what they have found out:
- Differences in daytime and night-time vegetation growth depended on rainfall
- Increased night-time warming led to less vegetation growth where it rained more
- This is likely due to increased cloud cover blocking the sun
More details about the study can be found in the journal Global Change Biology wherein it was published on September 30, 2020.
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