100 Years Of Global Warming Shows That Temperature Changes Have Been Inconsistent

By Shweta Iyer on May 4, 2014 1:11 PM EDT

global warming
A new analysis of 100 years-worth of temperature changes across the globe has found that they have been relatively inconsistent, depending on where in the world you look. (Photo: Liamfm, CC BY-SA 2.0)

A team of scientists from Florida State University have created one of most detailed maps of global warming to date. Their map shows the global land surface warming trends that have occurred over the last century, illustrating precisely the time and location when temperature fluctuations occurred in different parts of the world.

As expected, the study shows that the Earth's surface temperature has risen over the years.  But what surprised the scientists was that global warming has not been consistent across the globe, and some places had warmed at a more accelerated rate than others.

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"Global warming was not as understood as we thought," said Zhaohua Wu, an assistant professor of meteorology at FSU, in a press release. The team used a new method of analysis that examined land surface temperature trends from 1900 onwards. It accounted for everything except Antarctica. The analysis provided new, more accurate results, as previous research was conducted on less-advanced technology incapable of predicting the non-uniform warming.

The researchers found that regions circling the Arctic, as well as subtropical regions in both hemispheres - areas like southern China and Florida - were the first to experience warming. But the most warming to date has occurred in northern mid-latitudes, which include places like Siberia, Canada, and the British Isles. While most areas had warmed, some areas of the world had even cooled. "The global warming is not uniform," co-author Eric Chassignet said in the press release. "You have areas that have cooled and areas that have warmed."

From around 1910 to 1980, for example, while the rest of the world was warming up, some

areas south of the equator - near the Andes - were actually cooling down. After that time, temperatures remained unchanged until the mid-1990s. Other areas near and south of the equator didn't see significant changes comparable to the rest of the world at all.

"The detailed picture of when and where the world has warmed or cooled will provide a greater context to global warming research overall," Wu said.

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