Heat extremes in the soil are underestimated, according to new study

Interesting study: “For a long time, little attention was paid to soil temperatures because, in contrast to near-surface air temperatures, there was hardly any reliable data available due to the significantly more complex measurement process. A research team led by the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research (UFZ) has now established not only that ground and air temperatures can differ, but also that climate change has a much greater impact on the intensity and frequency of heat extremes in the ground than in the air. This is particularly the case in Central Europe, they write in the journal Nature Climate Change. ”

  • Heat extremes occur much faster in the ground than in the air
  • According to the station data, the intensity of heat extremes in Central Europe is increasing 0.7 degrees Celsius/decade faster in the ground than in the air.
  • The number of days with heat extremes is increasing twice as fast in the ground as in the air.
  • The decisive factor here is soil moisture, which plays an important thermal role in the exchange between air and soil temperatures.
  • If the temperature in the soil is higher than in the air, additional heat is released into the lower atmosphere – causing temperatures in the atmosphere to rise. “Soil temperature acts as a factor in the feedback loop between soil moisture and temperature and can thus intensify heat waves in certain regions”


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