Here are the places where global warming is slowest — and why

more than four times faster than anywhere else on the planet. The World Meteorological Organization said recently that Europe, where extreme summer heat has killed thousands in recent years, is the fastest-warming continent.” class=”wpds-c-hcZlgz wpds-c-hcZlgz-bkfjoi-font-georgia wpds-c-hcZlgz-jDmrXh-width-mdCenter wpds-c-hcZlgz-iPJLV-css mw-md pb-md font–article-body font-copy ma-auto pl-sm pr-sm”>It has become common to focus on the fastest warming places, regions where human-caused climate change is increasing temperatures at an alarming rate. In the Arctic, where sea ice is rapidly disappearing, warming can occur more than four times faster than anywhere else on the planet. The World Meteorological Organization recently said Europe, where extreme summer heat has killed thousands in recent years, is the fastest warming continent.

On the other side of the world’s global warming hotspots: parts of the planet that are warming more slowly than others, often much more slowly than the global average of about 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit) since the mid-20th century, for one analysis the Washington Post from data from the non-profit organization Berkeley Earth.

But instead of learning how to limit the rise in temperature, these relatively cool places offer another example of how humanity has damaged the planet.

Here are some of them and the influences behind them:

A depleted ozone layer slows Antarctic warming






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The ozone layer thickness scale ranges from 0 to 500 Dobsonian units. Scientists use the word “hole” to describe areas with ozone concentrations below 220 Dobsonian units. Source: NASA Earth Observations





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The ozone layer thickness scale ranges from 0 to 500 Dobsonian units. Scientists use the word “hole” to describe areas with ozone concentrations below 220 Dobsonian units. Source: NASA Earth Observations





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The ozone layer thickness scale ranges from 0 to 500 Dobsonian units. Scientists use the word “hole” to describe areas with ozone concentrations below 220 Dobsonian units. Source: NASA Earth Observations





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thickness of the ozone layer

October 2022

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The ozone layer thickness scale ranges from 0 to 500 Dobsonian units. Scientists use the word “hole” to describe areas with ozone concentrations below 220 Dobsonian units. Source: NASA Earth Observations





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2017-2021 and 1951-1980

thickness of the ozone layer

October 2022

The ozone layer thickness scale ranges from 0 to 500 Dobsonian units. Scientists use the word “hole” to describe areas with ozone concentrations below 220 Dobsonian units.

Source: NASA Earth Observations

While western Antarctica is one of the fastest warming places on earth, the eastern part of the coldest continent on earth has been warming much more slowly.

Scientists believe one reason is the ozone hole, a dilution in the atmosphere that acts as a shield from harmful ultraviolet sunlight. Although efforts to limit the use of ozone-depleting chemicals have helped narrow the hole, it is expected to remain so for decades to come.

The theory states that the ozone hole alters the circulation of high-level, weather-determining winds in a way that makes it harder for cold polar air to escape, said Robert Rohde, lead scientist at Berkeley Earth.

Parts of East Antarctica have even cooled slightly compared to 1951-1980 temperatures.

Another factor that explains why Earth’s south pole is warming so much more slowly than the north pole: Antarctica’s mountainous terrain, said Zeke Hausfather, director of climate research at financial firm Stripe and a fellow at Berkeley Earth. The continent’s average elevation of more than 7,000 feet above sea level means constant snow and ice coverage, which means a high albedo — an ability to reflect much of the sun’s rays and prevent the continent from absorbing as much solar radiation.

one study found, it would warm much more quickly.” class=”wpds-c-hcZlgz wpds-c-hcZlgz-bkfjoi-font-georgia wpds-c-hcZlgz-jDmrXh-width-mdCenter wpds-c-hcZlgz-iPJLV-css mw-md pb-md font–article-body font-copy ma-auto pl-sm pr-sm”>According to one study, if Antarctica were as flat as the Arctic, it would warm up much faster.

An ice melt affects water bodies near Greenland






change in ice thickness

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temperature change between

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The change in ice thickness is shown for Greenland only and is measured in meters of water equivalent. Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech





change in ice thickness

April 2002 – April 2022

temperature change between

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The change in ice thickness is shown for Greenland only and is measured in meters of water equivalent.

Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech





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change in ice thickness

April 2002 – April 2022

temperature change between

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The change in ice thickness is shown for Greenland only and is measured in meters of water equivalent. Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech





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change in ice thickness

April 2002 – April 2022

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The change in ice thickness is shown for Greenland only and is measured in meters of water equivalent. Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech





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change in ice thickness

April 2002 – April 2022

temperature change between

2017-2021 and 1951-1980

The change in thickness is given in meters of water equivalent. Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech

One of the fastest warming events on the planet is occurring in its iciest regions, including throughout the Arctic. But as a by-product, melting ice means some nearby bodies of water are warming up more slowly, if not cooling down.

scientists fear an important ocean current is weakening. Ice losses in Greenland are so massive, they cannot be stopped, recent research found.” class=”wpds-c-hcZlgz wpds-c-hcZlgz-bkfjoi-font-georgia wpds-c-hcZlgz-jDmrXh-width-mdCenter wpds-c-hcZlgz-iPJLV-css mw-md pb-md font–article-body font-copy ma-auto pl-sm pr-sm”>The effect is evident in a small part of the North Atlantic, just south of Greenland, where the water has cooled slightly and is also so low in salinity that scientists fear a key ocean current is weakening. The ice losses in Greenland are so massive that they cannot be stopped, as recent studies have shown.

cooling sections of the Southern Ocean around Antarctica. The relatively cool spot near Greenland is isolated; Antarctica and much of the global south are generally warming more slowly than areas in the north, said Gavin Schmidt, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.” class=”wpds-c-hcZlgz wpds-c-hcZlgz-bkfjoi-font-georgia wpds-c-hcZlgz-jDmrXh-width-mdCenter wpds-c-hcZlgz-iPJLV-css mw-md pb-md font–article-body font-copy ma-auto pl-sm pr-sm”>A rush of cold water flowing from collapsing ice sheets has also been linked to cooling stretches of the Southern Ocean around Antarctica. The relatively cool spot near Greenland is isolated; Antarctica and much of the global south are generally warming more slowly than areas to the north, said Gavin Schmidt, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

“Oceans generally warm more slowly than land, and the southern hemisphere has more oceans than the northern,” Schmidt said in an email.

Intense air pollution protects India from faster warming






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Particulate matter pollution (PM 2.5) in 2019

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Source: NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center





Particulate matter pollution (PM 2.5) in 2019

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temperature change between

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Source: NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center





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Source: NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center





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Particulate matter pollution (PM 2.5) in 2019

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Source: NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center





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micrograms per cubic meter

temperature change between

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Source: NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center

Among the densely populated areas, India is one of the areas with the slowest warming, due in part to another by-product of greenhouse gas emissions: air pollution.

Aerosols, or fine particles suspended in the air, generally have a cooling effect because they can block and scatter sunlight and encourage cloud formation, Hausfather said.

And pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, which are released when sulphurous fuels such as coal, oil or diesel are burned, can be particularly effective at cooling localized areas. Unlike carbon dioxide, for example, it doesn’t travel far from where it’s emitted, he said.

reaching “severe” levels last month.” class=”wpds-c-hcZlgz wpds-c-hcZlgz-bkfjoi-font-georgia wpds-c-hcZlgz-jDmrXh-width-mdCenter wpds-c-hcZlgz-iPJLV-css mw-md pb-md font–article-body font-copy ma-auto pl-sm pr-sm”>While European countries and the United States enacted regulations decades ago that drastically reduced air pollution, India still has some of the worst urban smog in the world, hitting “severe” levels in the past month.

contributing to oppressive and dangerous conditions. But parts of the country have seen less than half a degree Celsius of temperature increase compared with its average temperatures from 1951-1980, less than half the global average.” class=”wpds-c-hcZlgz wpds-c-hcZlgz-bkfjoi-font-georgia wpds-c-hcZlgz-jDmrXh-width-mdCenter wpds-c-hcZlgz-iPJLV-css mw-md pb-md font–article-body font-copy ma-auto pl-sm pr-sm”>That’s not to say India can escape extreme heat, as its tropical humidity contributes to oppressive and dangerous conditions. But parts of the country have seen a temperature rise of less than half a degree Celsius compared to average temperatures from 1951 to 1980, less than half the global average.

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