A team of researchers has revealed about the first time global warming became clearly evident in the temperature record. The indications of climate change are all around us today but now researchers have revealed for the first time when and where the first clear signs of global warming appeared in the temperature record and where those signals are likely to be clearly seen in extreme rainfall events in the near future.
The new research gives an insight into the global impacts that have already been felt, even at this very early stage, and where those impacts are likely to intensify in the coming years.
Lead author Andrew King from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science said that they examined average and extreme temperatures because they were always projected to be the measure that is most sensitive to global warming.
King added that the research shows that one could already see clear signs of global warming in the tropics by the 1960s but in parts of Australia, South East Asia and Africa it was visible as early as the 1940s.
The reason the first changes in average temperature and temperature extremes appeared in the tropics was because those regions generally experienced a much narrower range of temperatures. This meant smaller shifts in the temperature record due to global warming were more easily seen.
The first signal to appear in the tropics was the change in average temperatures. Later extreme temperature events showed a global warming signal.
Closer to the poles the emergence of climate change in the temperature record appeared later but by the period 1980-2000 the temperature record in most regions of the world were showing clear global warming signals.
The study is published in Environmental Research Letters.