Climate change is shrinking the difference between the daily high temperature and the daily low in many parts of the world.
Climate change is shrinking the difference between the daily high temperature and the daily low in many parts of the world. The gap between the two, known as the diurnal temperature range (DTR), has a significant effect on growing seasons, crop yields, residential energy consumption and human health issues related to heat stress. But why and where the DTR shrinks with climate change has been something of a mystery.
Researchers who are part of a new international study that examined the DTR at the end of the 21st century believe they have found the answer: An increase in clouds, which blocks incoming-shortwave radiation from the sun during the day.
This means that while both the daily maximum temperature and the daily minimum are expected to continue to increase with climate change, the daily maximum temperature will increase at a slower rate. The end result is that the DTR will continue to shrink in many parts of the world, but that the changes will vary depending on a variety of local conditions, researchers said.
The study, published in the journal AGU Geophysical Research Letters, is the first to use high-resolution computer modeling to delve into the issue of the Earth’s shrinking DTR, particularly how it is related to cloud cover.
Read more at University of Texas at Austin
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