The tropics may be expanding due to
May 26, 2006
A new study published in Science by scientists from the University of Utah and the University of Washington indicates that the tropics have expanded farther from the equator since 1979.
Analyzing atmospheric temperature measurements by satellites, the researchers say that widening of the tropics amounts to 2 degrees of latitude or 140 miles but are not sure whether the expansion is the result of natural climate variation or by human-induced global warming due to the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
The researchers warm that the trend could expand some of the world's driest regions.
“It’s a big deal. The tropics may be expanding and getting larger,” says study co-author Thomas Reichler, an assistant professor of meteorology at the University of Utah. “If this is true, it also would mean that subtropical deserts are expanding into heavily populated midlatitude regions.”