Scientists have successfully identified the first signs of global warming, dating back to the 1940s. These findings are crucial for future prediction of where the most vulnerable areas are likely to be.
Study, conducted by UK climate scientists, shows that the first signs that global warming is happening could be observed in data collected back in the 1940s and 1960s.
Based on detailed analysis on changes in average and extreme temperatures, the team was able to identify early signs in the tropics, with the earliest indicators detected Australia, Africa and Southeast Asia. In these regions, the signs were so clearly seen due to the fact that in the tropics the range of change in temperatures is generally small.
Moving away from these regions, and going towards the poles, the scientists observed these same changes and patterns occurring a lot later- in 1980s-2000. More striking, however, is the fact that data for some parts of the US, especially the Eastern coast and the central states, are still not showing any of the signs that the team saw for other regions around the world. For these parts of the US, the scientists ran prediction models, and saw that changes in average and extreme temperatures are about to happen in the coming decade.
Besides changes in temperature, the team also analysed rainfall patterns. Their findings show that extreme rainfall events are soon to take place around the globe during the winter season in Russia, Canada and Northern Europe. The authors warn that that these rainfall events will occur on top of the already occurring wet winters, and exceed the expected natural variation within the coming 10 to 30 years.
The results of this study support the conclusions of the latest IPCC report (Chapter 10), where increasing global temperatures were linked to global warming. More details on the study can be found in the publication in the latest issue of the Journal Environmental Research Letters.
Image (c) University of New South Wales