Scientists dont know if global warming is responsible
This map of the Earth shows areas of particularly strong warming of the lower atmosphere in yellow, orange and reddish colors. Note the enhanced warming of midlatitude regions north and south of the equator, indicating the expansion of the tropics. The map also shows pronounced warming at Arctic latitudes. Credit: Qiang Fu, University of Washington
Atmospheric temperature measurements by U.S. weather satellites indicate Earths hot, tropical zone has expanded farther from the equator since 1979, says a study by scientists from the University of Utah and University of Washington.
Researchers say the apparent north-south widening of the tropics amounts to 2 degrees of latitude or 140 miles. But they do not know yet if the tropical expansion was triggered by natural climate variation or by human-caused phenomena such as depletion of the atmospheres ozone layer or global warming due to the greenhouse effect.
The study is being published in the Friday May 26 issue of the journal Science.
Thomas Reichler | EurekAlert!
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