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Study tracks Earth's temperature anomalies

Dec. 15, 2014--University of Delaware alumnus Scott M. Robeson and geography professor emeritus Cort J. Willmott are co-authors of a study that found spatial patterns of extreme temperature anomalies — readings well above or below the mean — are warming faster than the overall average.

The study findings appeared online this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters in a paper titled “Trends in Hemispheric Warm and Cold Anomalies.”

While it is widely known that the Earth’s average temperature has been rising, Robeson, now a geography professor at Indiana University, Bloomington, explained that trends in extreme heat and cold have an outsized impact on water supplies, agricultural productivity and other factors related to human health and well-being.

“Average temperatures don’t tell us everything we need to know about climate change. Arguably, these cold extremes and warm extremes are the most important factors for human society,” said Robeson, who earned his bachelor’s degree in geography and doctoral degree in climatology at UD in 1984 and 1992, respectively.