Climate change affects nights and days differently in much of the world, including Europe, with the former raising temperatures faster than the latter. This shows a new British scientific study, according to which between 1983-2017 there was a difference of rise above 0.25 degrees Celsius in the average annual temperature between nights and days on about half the planet.
In recent decades the days are heating up faster in some countries and the nights in others, but the total land area of the Earth where the temperature rises the most at night is more than double that of the region where the temperature rises faster during the day.
Europe, West Africa, southwestern America and Central Asia are among the regions where nighttime temperatures are rising faster than daytime. In contrast, in the southern United States, Mexico and the Middle East, days are heating up faster.
This “temperature asymmetry” is largely due to changes in cloud cover levels. Increased clouds block the sun’s rays and thus drop the temperature during the day, while maintaining a relatively high temperature and humidity at night. The opposite happens when the clouds decrease, so more heat reaches the Earth during the day and is lost at night.
Researchers at the University of Exeter, led by Dr. Daniel Cox, who published in the journal Global Change Biology, said that “this asymmetry has potentially significant implications for the natural world.” According to Cox, “the greatest rise in temperature at night is related to the wetter climate, which has important implications for plant growth and how species such as mammals and insects interact.“