The bane of global warming is affecting the night and day time temperatures differently — with nights getting disproportionately warmer than the days — in vast swatches of the land, a new global study has found.
Scientists from the University of Exeter studied warming of the earth from 1983 to 2017 and found a difference in the ‘mean annual temperature’ of daytime and night time during the observed period, which was of 0.25°C.
It means, the researchers noted, days became warm faster in some locations, while nights soared hight in some places, but the total area where nights were warmer were disproportionately more than twice as higher.
The reason for such a “warming asymmetry” is because of the cloud cover, the researchers noted. More clouds during the day lock-in warmth in the land at night but keep days cooler.
Decreased clouds during day warms the land faster, but locks in the warmth at night. To conclude the outcomes, the researchers examined hourly records of temperature, cloud cover, specific humidity and precipitation.
Lead author Dr. Daniel Cox, of the Environment and Sustainability Institute on Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall, explained: “Warming asymmetry has potentially significant implications for the natural world.
“We demonstrate that greater night-time warming is associated with the climate becoming wetter, and this has been shown to have important consequences for plant growth and how species, such as insects and mammals, interact.
“Conversely, we also show that greater daytime warming is associated with drier conditions, combined with greater levels of overall warming, which increases species vulnerability to heat stress and dehydration.
“Species that are only active at night or during the day will be particularly affected,” he told in a statement.
To conclude the results of the study, scientists modeled the hourly climate data of the daytime maximum and the night-time minimum temperatures and also mean night-time cloud cover, specific humidity, and precipitation.
Why is it important?
Climate change plays a huge role in supporting the biological works of the planet and its impacts vary across latitude, habitats, and other spatial scales.
But at what time of the day these changes affect the most has received considerably little concerns from the scientific community.
A number of biologically significant activities take place at a specific time of the day, and knowing the nuances of climate change on an hourly basis is the key to understanding the impact it is having.
“[…] any asymmetry in the rate of change between the daytime and night‐time will skew the climatic pressures placed on them, and this could have profound impacts on the natural world,” the study noted, which has been published in the journal Global Change Library.