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The Warming of Max and Min Temperatures in the US Great Basin
Tang, G. and Arnone III, J.A. 2013. Trends in surface air temperature and temperature extremes in the Great Basin during the 20th century from ground-based observations. Journal of Geophysical Research (Atmospheres) 118: 3579-3589.

In introducing their new and revealing study, the authors write that "timely analysis of climate trends and climate variation, especially extremes, becomes essential for providing guidance to policymakers to cope with climate-change-induced risk.""

What was done
As their contribution to this subject, Tang and Arnone collected all available climate records from a total of 993 stations that are (or were) located within the hydrographic Great Basin of the United States. Then, after whittling this number down to a best-representative 93 stations, they determined and analyzed trends in surface air temperature and temperature extremes for the period 1901-2010.

What was learned
The two researchers report that "annual average daily mean temperature in the Great Basin increased by 1.0°C during the 110-year period," noting that "the overall warming trend mainly resulted from a more rapid increase in daily minimum temperature and a lower increase in daily maximum temperature in the study period," which "asymmetric changes in daily minimum and maximum temperatures caused daily DTR (diurnal temperature range) to decrease significantly by 0.8°C during the period of 1901-2010."

What it means
Numerous studies of people in a diverse array of countries have demonstrated that far more people die yearly as a result of health problems related to cold weather as opposed to warm weather, as may be seen by perusing the materials we have archived under the general heading of Health Effects (Temperature) in our Subject Index. And a subset of such studies has further indicated that greater DTRs are 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). Hence, one may logically conclude that the warming experienced throughout the Great Basin of the United States over the period 1901-2010 has helped to promote human longevity in that part of the world.

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.

Reviewed 25 September 2013