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Surprising Science

Yes, It’s Getting Warmer, But Not Everywhere And Not All At Once

A study of global surface warming trends over the last 100 years has taken scientists by surprise by revealing that while some parts of the world were heating up, others were cooling down.

What’s the Latest Development?

Florida State University scientists conducted a detailed study of global land surface warming patterns from 1900 onwards, and what they found surprised them: While the planet is getting warmer, it hasn’t been doing so uniformly, either in area or rate. According to the study, “noticeable warming first started around the regions circling the Arctic and subtropical regions in both hemispheres, [b]ut the largest accumulated warming to date is actually at the northern midlatitudes.” In addition, some areas, such as those near the equator, saw no significant change in temperature, and others, such as the area around the Andes Mountains, actually experienced cooling.

What’s the Big Idea?

Thanks to analysis methods developed by the FSU team that allowed them to examine land regions with new levels of precision, this is the first study to have confirmed the existence of non-uniform global warming. Team leader and meteorology professor Zhaohua Wu says their discovery will help provide more context to global warming research in general. Details of the research appear in the latest issue (May 4) of Nature Climate Change.

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