Scientists may probably be wrong about global warming as they missed a critical factor
As it turned out, Global warming is affecting not only the Earth's atmosphere and oceans but also the soil across the planet to a large extent. At the same time, this factor was not previously taken into account by scientists, and the consequences of this are not yet very clear to scientists.
This is stated in a study published in Nature Climate Change. The researchers noted that soil temperature has received relatively little attention in studies of climate change caused by human activity. One of the reasons for this is the relative complexity of measurements and the lack of sufficiently reliable data on soil temperature compared to surface air temperature.
To fill this gap, a team of scientists from Germany collected soil temperature data from a wide range of sources. The measurements were made using meteorological monitoring stations, remote sensing satellites, and other means. The calculations took into account data from 1996 to 2021.
It turned out that the temperature in the soil at a depth of up to 10 centimeters was higher than in the air at the level of 2 meters in two-thirds of the studied areas.
"This means that extreme temperatures develop much faster in the soil than in the air," said Almudena García-García, co-author of the paper and a remote sensing researcher at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research (UFZ).
They also managed to identify some regional temperature differences. It was found that extreme temperatures are becoming more intense faster in Central Europe, namely in Germany, Italy and southern France.
In these regions, the temperature in the soil is rising by 0.7 degrees Celsius per decade faster than in the air.
According to Science Alert, the study also showed that the average number of days with extreme heat in the soil is also growing twice as fast as in the air.
"For example, if now high temperatures in soil and air are observed 10% of the days in a month, then high temperatures in the air in ten years will be observed 15% of the days, while 20% in the soil," Garcia-Garcia said.
The scientists explained that this trend is largely due to soil moisture. This factor plays a key role in influencing the exchange of heat between soil and air.
Soil moisture, as the researchers noted, depends on vegetation cover. If land use practices increase, the situation with soil temperature may worsen.
They also explained that forests, unlike agricultural land, help to reduce soil moisture, as tree roots can extract water from deep in the ground.
In general, scientists believe that the data they have obtained is alarming. The fact that the soil is warming faster than the air could affect microorganisms, as well as the broader food chains that depend on them.
In addition, if the soil is warmer than the air, it can release additional heat into the lower atmosphere and also release additional carbon, exacerbating global warming.
"Following these results, studies of the impact of extreme heat, which take into account mainly air temperature but underestimate the factor of extreme heat in the soil, should be reassessed," said Jian Peng, head of the UFZ remote sensing department and co-author of the study.
Earlier, OBOZREVATEL shared that global warming could kill a billion people in 100 years, according to scientists.