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The Warming of Max and Min Global Terrestrial Temperatures

Donat, M.G., Alexander, L.V., Yang, H., Durre, I., Vose, R., Dunn, R.J.H., Willett, K.M., Aguilar, E., Brunet, M., Caesar, J., Hewitson, B., Jack, C., Klein Tank, A.M.G., Kruger, A.C., Marengo, J., Peterson, T.C., Renom, M., Rojas, C.O., Rusticucci, M., Salinger, J., Elrayah, A.S., Sekele, S.S., Srivastava, A.K., Trewin, B., Villarroel, C., Vincent, L.A., Zhai, P., Zhang, X. and Kitching, S. 2013. Updated analyses of temperature and precipitation extreme indices since the beginning of the twentieth century: The HadEX2 dataset. Journal of Geophysical Research (Atmospheres) 118: 2098-2118.
According to Donat et al. (2013), "research into climate extremes has progressed enormously over the last few decades ... largely due to international coordinated efforts to collate, quality control and analyze variables and events that represent the more extreme aspects of climate." Perhaps the most substantial such effort was the one that resulted in the global gridded dataset known as HadEX, which was developed by Alexander et al. (2006). And it became the purpose of Donat et al. to update and expand it into the new HadEX2 dataset.

To do so, high-quality observations from over 7,000 temperature- and 11,000 precipitation-monitoring meteorological stations across the globe were obtained and used to calculate various indices of temperature and precipitation extremes over the period of record available for each station, after which monthly and annual indices were interpolated onto a 3.75° x 2.5° longitude-latitude grid covering the period 1901-2010.

Focusing on temperature, the 29 researchers report that "all temperature-related indices show significant and widespread warming trends, which are generally stronger for indices calculated from daily minimum (nighttime) temperature than for those calculated from daily maximum (daytime) temperature." Or as they more simply put it in the discussion section of their paper, "globally averaged minimum temperature extremes are warming faster than maximum temperature extremes."

These findings represent good news in regard to human health, because over most of the world cold kills far more people than warmth does, as may be seen by perusing the materials we have archived under the general heading of Health Effects of Temperature in our Topical Archive. And a subset of those many studies further indicates that greater diurnal temperature ranges (DTRs) - such as those that prevail when maximum daily temperatures warm faster than minimum daily temperatures (which is just the opposite of what Donat et al. found to be the case over the last 110 years - are far more deadly than are lesser DTRs, as reported, for example, by Cao et al. (2009), Tam et al. (2009), Lim et al. (2012) and Yang et al. (2013). And, therefore, it can logically be concluded that the type of warming experienced throughout the world over the period 1901-2010 has actually helped to promote human longevity, in contradiction of the contrary notion that many climate alarmists continue to champion.

Additional References
Alexander, L.V., Zhang, X., Peterson, T.C., Caesar, J., Gleason, B., Klein Tank, A.M.G., Haylock, M., Collins, D., Trewin, B., Rahimzadeh, F., Tagipour, A., Rupa Kumar, K., Revadekar, J., Griffiths, G., Vincent, L., Stephenson, D.B., Burn, J., Aguilar, E., Brunet, M., Taylor, M., New, M., Zhai, P., Rusticucci, M. and Vazquez-Aguirre, J.L. 2006. Global observed changes in daily climate extremes of temperature and precipitation. Journal of Geophysical Research (Atmospheres) 111: 10.1029/2005JD006290.

Cao, J., Cheng, Y., Zhao, N., Song, W., Jiang, C., Chen, R. and Kan, H. 2009. Diurnal temperature range is a risk factor for coronary heart disease death. Journal of Epidemiology 19: 328-332.

Lim, Y.-H., Hong, Y.-C. and Kim, H. 2012. Effects of diurnal temperature range on cardiovascular and respiratory hospital admissions in Korea. Science of the Total Environment 417-418: 55-60.

Tam, W.W.S., Wong, T.W., Chair, S.Y. and Wong, A.H.S. 2009. Diurnal temperature range and daily cardiovascular mortalities among the elderly in Hong Kong. Archives of Environmental and Occupational Health 64: 202-206.

Yang, J., Liu, H.-Z., Ou, C.-Q., Lin, G.-Z., Zhou, Q., Shen, G.-C., Chen, P.-Y. and Guo, Y. 2013. Global climate change: Impact of diurnal temperature range on mortality in Guangzhou, China. 2013. Environmental Pollution 175: 131-136.

Archived 2 October 2013