Is global warming sneaking into Ohio under cover of darkness?
That’s what atmospheric scientists like Jeffrey Rogers, professor and researcher at the Ohio State University, want to know — because nights have been slowly getting warmer here for more than a half-century.
“Nighttime temperatures are coming up, and no one has really been paying attention to them,” Rogers said by telephone from his Columbus office, where he has also served in the unpaid position of state climatologist since 1986.
“Many people think that they will notice a warmer climate by noticing hotter summers or warmer winters,” Rogers said. “Instead, it is nighttime temperatures that could be a first indicator.”
Rogers, a 30-year teaching veteran at OSU, has produced a study that showed a clear trend over at least the last 60 years of Columbus weather records: Nighttime lows have been slowly, but certainly, gaining on daytime temperature high temperature averages.
Atmospheric scientists call that the Diurnal Temperature Range or DTR– the difference between the daytime high and nighttime low. It’s one of the markers that seem to indicate a warming climate, according to some scientists.
In any case, increasing nighttime lows are a virtually uncontested fact among meteorologists, climatologists and other scientists. What remains debatable is why it has been happening.