Global warming is not as "global" as it may first seem. While the Earth continues to experience an increase in temperature every year, some parts of the planet may have actually cooled down, a new study revealed.
The warming is not really happening in every place on Earth all at the same time and the same rate. Global warming is "not uniform," scientists say, and these areas which were not greatly affected by the rise in temperatures are ironically found in the southern latitudes.
In a simple graph, a team of scientists from the Florida State University (FSU) showed that the temperature in the mid-southern latitudes, such as those near the Andes of the South America, recorded colder temperatures in the 1900s, with negative 20 Kelvin temperature experienced in the 1930s until the 1970s.
Scientists also bared that the first warming was recorded in areas as far as 80 degrees north of the equator, particularly in the Arctic regions, as well as in the subtropical regions of both hemispheres, such as in China and in Florida. Temperatures remained to increase in the following years and eventually, the northern hemisphere hit one of the hottest temperatures at the turn of the second millennium with 1.20 Kelvin.
While both hemispheres experienced changes in temperature, areas in the equatorial region seemed to undergo no significant change at all, particularly during the 1910s up until 1960s.
"Global warming was not as understood as we thought," said lead author of the study Zhaohua Wu, an FSU assistant professor of meteorology.
The study, which came out in the publication Nature Climate Change, is the first to tackle the temperature trends of the past century, providing a greater context to global warming research overall, Wu said. No previous studies on global warming have provided such detailed information about the "non-uniformity" in temperatures because of the analysis methods previously employed.
Wu, together with the other authors from the FSU's Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies, analyzed the data using a unique method in examining worldwide temperature trends in land surfaces from the 1900s up to present, except for Antarctica.
The research followed suit after United Nations' secretary-general called for the leaders of every nation to take necessary actions and roll out serious commitments in combating climate change.
Since the 19th century, 90 percent of the warming has already occurred in the oceans. In the 20th century, the Earth's temperature went up to 0.8 °C, a drastic two-third increase of this was recorded in 1980.