From the poles to the tropics, the oceans to our cities, we’ve mapped the fluctuations in temperature that are leading to a climate crisis.
But strangely, little attention has been paid to the world’s circadian landscapes of night and day. And a new study shows our nocturnal environment is actually warming at a faster rate than our daytime surrounds – and it could prove too much for many species.
After analysing more than three decades of daily temperature data from all over the world, researchers from the University of Exeter have concluded there’s an asymmetry in our planet’s warming as it rotates on its axis.
The climate records spanned from 1983 to 2017, providing the team with a hefty database of six-hourly surface temperature readings covering virtually the entire planet during some of the warmest years in recorded history.
In some spots, the days warmed considerably while night time temperatures barely budged. There were even times of considerable cooling for some environments.
But the bigger picture was surprising. Across more than half of the planet’s land surface, the average annual temperature rise at night was a quarter of a degree Celsius more than that of the day’s.
A fraction of a degree each year might sound tiny, but over time these increments of heat could add up to have a significant effect on the ecology.
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