A new study has now highlighted that the nocturnal environment is warming faster than daytime surroundings and could prove detrimental for many species. Researchers from the University of Exeter analyzed more than three decades of daily temperature data from around the world before concluding that there is an asymmetry in the planet’s warming as it rotates on its axis. According to a statement by the University of Exeter, global warming affects temperatures during daytime and night-time differently. Also, greater night-time warming is more common than greater daytime warming worldwide.
Researchers studied atmospheric warming from 1983 to 2017 and found a difference in mean annual temperature of more than 0.25 degrees between daytime and night-time warming in over half of the global land surface. They found that days warmed more quickly in some locations, and nights did in other. However, the total area of disproportionately greater night-time warming was more than twice as large. As per the scientists, the “warming asymmetry” is driven primarily by changing cloud cover levels.
According to study authors, increased cloud cover cools the surface during the day and retains warmth during the night. This leads to greater night-time warming. On the other hand, decreased cloud cover allows more warmth to reach the surface during the day. However, that warmth is lost at night.
Speaking about it, lead author Dr. Daniel Cox, of the Environment and Sustainability Institute on Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall said warming asymmetry has 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,” Cox stated, adding that greater daytime warming is associated with drier conditions and increased overall warming, which increases species vulnerability to heat stress and dehydration.