High elevation warming compared to the Arctic


The question whether mountains and other high elevation regions of the world are warming more rapidly as compared to other portions of the planet is of tremendous interest to many scientists who are engaged in studies in climate change. A study conducted by the Institute of Loess Plateau, Shanxi University in China, using annual mean temperatures from 2781 global stations for the 1961-2010 period, found that the warming for the world’s high-elevation stations (>500m above sea level) is clearly stronger than their low-elevation counterparts (≤500m above sea level); and the warming is amplified at a rate of 0.2297 °C per kilometer of elevation per 50 years for all the 910 high-elevation stations as a whole during the period 1961-2010. Furthermore, it can be seen (in Figure 4a & b) that a persistent warming is observed for the high-elevation stations for the post-1998 period, while the warming is slowdown for the low-elevation stations in this recent period, consistent with the recent global-warming hiatus observed before. These findings could have important implications for the understanding of mountain climate change, and for the impact assessment of mountain climate change.

The paper, “Evidence of high-elevation amplification versus Arctic amplification”, by Qixiang Wang, Xiaohui Fan and Mengben Wang, was published by and is now available online.

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