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Past and future trends of diurnal temperature range and their correlation with vegetation assessed by MODIS and CMIP6

Sci Total Environ. 2023 Sep 4:166727. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.166727. Online ahead of print.


Temperature anomalies and changes in the diurnal temperature range (DTR) are expected to pose physiological challenges to biota; hence, both spatial and temporal variations in DTR provide important insights into temperature-induced stress in humans, animals, and vegetation. Furthermore, vegetation could dampen temperature variability. Here, we use the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) remote sensing data of Land Surface Temperature (LST) to evaluate the global variation in DTR and its rate of change in spatial and temporal scales for the two decades spanning from 2001 to 2020. We show that North America, Africa, and Antarctica, as well as the global mean, experienced statistically significant DTR rates of change over the last 20 years in either summer, winter, or the annual mean. The rates were all negative, indicating the day-night temperature differences are decreasing in those regions because night temperatures are increasing at a faster rate than day temperatures. MODIS data of the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) revealed a strongly negative correlation with DTR, with a spatial correlation coefficient of -0.61. This correlation demonstrates a prominent dampening effect of vegetation on diurnal temperature oscillations. For future DTR projections, we used 19 models in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 6 (CMIP6) to predict global DTR trends from 2021 to 2050 with low and high CO2 concentration scenarios. The high CO2 emission scenario projects significant decreases in DTR in circumpolar regions, central Africa, and India compared to the low CO2 scenario. This difference in the two scenarios underscores the substantial influence of increased global temperatures and elevated CO2 concentration on DTR and, consequently, on the ecosystems in certain regions.

PMID:37673261 | DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.166727

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