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Nights Warming Faster Than Days Across Much of The Planet

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Global warming is affecting daytime and night-time temperatures differently – and greater night-time warming is more common than greater daytime warming worldwide – new research shows.

Credit: NASA
University of Exeter scientists studied warming from 1983 to 2017 and found a difference in mean annual temperature of more than 0.25°C between daytime and night-time warming in over half of the global land surface.

Spatial variation in warming asymmetry across the diel cycle between 1983 and 2017. In total c.54% of the land surface has experienced warming asymmetry of >0.25°C, with more than twice the area of land warming more during the nighttime than the daytime. Driven primarily by changing levels of cloud cover this is associated with a wetting (increased nighttime warming) and drying (increased daytime warming) of the climate. The blue illustrates where the nighttime has warmed more rapidly, and red where the daytime has done so. The projection is Behrmann’s equal area.

Credit: University of Exeter

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.

The study shows this “warming asymmetry” has been driven primarily by changing levels of cloud cover.

Increased cloud cover cools the surface during the day and retains the warmth during the night, leading to greater night-time warming. Whereas, decreasing cloud cover allows more warmth to reach the surface during the day, but that warmth is lost at night.

“Warming asymmetry has potentially significant implications for the natural world,” said lead author Dr Daniel Cox, of the Environment and Sustainability Institute on Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall.

“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.”

The global study examined hourly records of temperature, cloud cover, specific humidity and precipitation.

The authors modelled the different rates of change of daytime maximum and night-time minimum temperatures, and mean daytime and mean night-time cloud cover, specific humidity and precipitation.

They then looked at changes in vegetation growth and precipitation over the same period.

The study found that differences in daytime and night-time vegetation growth depended on rainfall.

Increased night-time warming led to less vegetation growth where it rained more, likely due to increased cloud cover blocking the sun. Whereas, vegetation growth was limited by water availability due to less rainfall where the days warmed more.

The research was funded in part by the Natural Environment Research Council.

The paper, published in the journal Global Change Biology, is entitled: “Global variation in diurnal asymmetry in temperature, cloud cover, specific humidity and precipitation and its association with Leaf Area Index.”

Contacts and sources:
Alex Morrison

University of Exeter



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Total 3 comments
  • PaulTarsuss

    Gee whiz….couldn’t have a thing to do with the sun’s increase in radiative output could it? Anyone alive since 1983 can clearly see a difference with the naked eye. Why don’t the ‘scientists’ mention it? As a kid, we could look at the sun for a few seconds and it was yellow. For the last few decades, it has gotten white and is so bright one can’t look at even for a second. The UV component of the sun has dramatically increased. And how about the fact that in December 2004, just after winter solstice, a magnetar blast arrived from 50,000 light years away, on the opposite side of the galaxy. The gravitic wave bumped earth into a new orbit and so too, that of our moon. This was followed only hours away by a commensurate gamma ray blast so bright, it knocked satellites off line, fried sensors, and lit up the moon. Of course, our ever lying media hid this and it’s mis-handlers are still attempting to keep a lid on the truth. This despite the fact that anyone can watch the sun rise and set over Canada in summer, thousands of miles north of it’s old limit of 23.5 degrees north at the tropic of cancer which runs through central mexico. Also, the moon swing through dozens of degrees of latitude per month rather than the old norm of 10 degrees per YEAR….


    So as one can readily see, there is a VERY…

    • PaulTarsuss

      IMPORTANT reason to keep looking UP. See the signs that were promised to arrive in our day to the letter.

      25 “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Luke 21:25-28

      The signs in Sun, Moon, and Stars are here. The heavenly bodies, including Earth and our Moon are shaken in their very orbits. The roaring and tossing of the sea, ie. Tsunami, have become relatively common place, with earthquakes in places never seen before.


      Good Journeys and may Yeshua, Jesus Christ, find us working what is good toward all upon His return

      Choose not to fall apart with this weary world, but realize instead that you have a Great Reason to do as Christ lovingly advises….Stand Up and Lift Up your Heads, for our Redeemer draws near.

      • Wity

        Thanks for the reminder and well said…

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