In the midwest, the weekend nights are hotter! Well, relative to the weekday nights, anyway. According to a new study, the size of each day's range in temperature changes from weekdays to weekends. Researchers are calling this a "weekend effect".
A study published this week in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that the total range in daily temperature in cities across the country varies on a weekly cycle. The authors refer to this as a "weekend effect".
The authors analyzed more than forty years of data from stations around the country, and found that at many u.s. stations, particularly in the midwest, the southeast, and the southwest, the average temperature range on saturday, sunday, and monday differs by a few tenths of a degree fahrenheit from the average temperature range on wednesday, thursday, and friday.
The study asserts that the existence of this weekly cycling, regardless of the direction of the change, is strongly suggestive of a human influence on temperature.
Piers Forster, research scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), notes that while increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, resulting from the burning of fossil fuels, may be one of the biggest human influences on climate, greenhouse gas emissions are not the cause of this effect. Fossil fuel emissions, he says, affect temperature over long timescales, but this effect is occurring over much shorter timescales.
The study suggests that one possible explanation for the weekend effect is the interaction of clouds with aerosols, tiny airborne particles that are a product of industrial pollution