Researchers discover 'hole' in global warming predictions

September 21, 2004

ST. LOUIS -- In the future, global warming might not be as severe in the central United States as in other parts of the country, according to scientists at Saint Louis University and Iowa State University (ISU).

Using a detailed regional climate model, these researchers estimate summertime daily maximum temperatures will not climb as high in a Midwestern region -- centered on the Missouri/Kansas border -- as anywhere else in the United States. The hole stretches for hundreds of miles and includes Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

The findings are published in the current issue of Geophysical Research Letters. The article's lead author is Zaitao Pan, Ph.D., an assistant professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at Saint Louis University. The researchers say the findings underscore the need to consider the impact of global warming on a region-by-region basis.

"The modeling showed that warming in the United States will be stronger in winter than summer and stronger at night than during the day," Pan said. "But we found what looked to us like a 'hole' in the daytime warming in summer, which was a surprise."

Pan collaborated with scientists at the Regional Climate Modeling Laboratory at ISU, where he earned his Ph.D. and conducted part of this research. After discovering the 'hole' in climate projections for the 2040s, Pan went back to carefully examine the observed maximum daily temperatures from 1975-2000 in a region that centers in eastern Kansas and touches parts of Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Iowa.

"We found that, in fact, this hole already has started to develop," he said.

Ray Arritt, agronomy professor at ISU, said the existence of this "hole" in the warming makes sense.

"Our model tells us the future climate will have more rainfall and wetter soil, so more of the sun's energy goes into evaporating water than heating the air," he said. "Rainfall in the northern Great Plains already has increased by about 10 percent over the past few decades, which is consistent with our predictions."

Team members caution that independent evaluations are needed to confirm this finding and to determine whether the 'hole' might be a temporary phenomenon that will disappear as global warming becomes more severe in the latter half of the 21st century.

In addition to Pan and Arritt, co-authors are Gene Takle, Bill Gutowski, Chris Anderson and Moti Segal of ISU.
-end-
Saint Louis University is a Jesuit, Catholic university ranked among the top research institutions in the nation. The University fosters the intellectual and character development of 11,000 students on campuses in St. Louis and Madrid, Spain. Founded in 1818, it is the oldest university west of the Mississippi and the second oldest Jesuit university in the United States. Through teaching, research, health care and community service, Saint Louis University is the place where knowledge touches lives. Learn more about SLU at www.slu.edu.

Saint Louis University

Related Global Warming Articles from Brightsurf:

The ocean has become more stratified with global warming
A new study found that the global ocean has become more layered and resistant to vertical mixing as warming from the surface creates increasing stratification.

Containing methane and its contribution to global warming
Methane is a gas that deserves more attention in the climate debate as it contributes to almost half of human-made global warming in the short-term.

Global warming and extinction risk
How can fossils predict the consequences of climate change? A German research team from Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), the Museum of Natural History Berlin and the Alfred Wegener Institute compared data from fossil and marine organisms living today to predict which groups of animals are most at risk from climate change.

Intensified global monsoon extreme rainfall signals global warming -- A study
A new study reveals significant associations between global warming and the observed intensification of extreme rainfall over the global monsoon region and its several subregions, including the southern part of South Africa, India, North America and the eastern part of the South America.

Global warming's impact on undernourishment
Global warming may increase undernutrition through the effects of heat exposure on people, according to a new study published this week in PLOS Medicine by Yuming Guo of Monash University, Australia, and colleagues.

Global warming will accelerate water cycle over global land monsoon regions
A new study provides a broader understanding on the redistribution of freshwater resources across the globe induced by future changes in the monsoon system.

Comparison of global climatologies confirms warming of the global ocean
A report describes the main features of the recently published World Ocean Experiment-Argo Global Hydrographic Climatology.

Six feet under, a new approach to global warming
A Washington State University researcher has found that one-fourth of the carbon held by soil is bound to minerals as far as six feet below the surface.

Can we limit global warming to 1.5 °C?
Efforts to combat climate change tend to focus on supply-side changes, such as shifting to renewable or cleaner energy.

Global warming: Worrying lessons from the past
56 million years ago, the Earth experienced an exceptional episode of global warming.

Read More: Global Warming News and Global Warming Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.