Israel’s Nighttime Temperatures Remain High Due to Cloud Cover


Israel is experiencing unusually high nighttime temperatures in August, partially because of a cloud cap that prevents cooling overnight and in the early morning hours. This phenomenon, known as the greenhouse effect, traps hot air and humidity near the surface, especially along the coast, in central and northern Israel.

According to meteorologists, this is the first time since 1962 that the minimum temperatures in some areas of central Israel did not drop below 27°C (80°F) for nine consecutive nights. Around the Sea of Galilee, the temperatures did not drop below 29°C (84°F) for eight nights in a row, which did not occur since 1945.

Dr. Amos Porat from the Israeli Meteorology Service said that such consecutive days with unusually high temperatures were unprecedented and could have negative impacts on human health and well-being. He explained that there was a flow of relatively cooler and less humid air from the sea in lower altitudes, causing inversion at 900 to 1000 meters. This is a steady layer of air, below which clouds gather and humidity is trapped overnight and into the morning hours, resulting in a greenhouse effect.

Israel’s Nighttime Temperatures Remain High Due to Cloud Cover
Israel’s Nighttime Temperatures Remain High Due to Cloud Cover

The Role of Climate Change

The greenhouse effect is not only caused by natural factors, such as cloud cover, but also by human activities that increase the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, absorb and re-emit infrared radiation from the Earth’s surface, creating a warming effect.

Climate change can have profound impacts across ecosystems, but rising average temperatures are just one factor among many driving those repercussions. A recent study published in Global Change Biology found that nighttime temperatures are increasing at a faster rate compared to daytime temperatures in most land areas across the Earth. This shift can influence everything from predator-prey dynamics to plant growth.

The study also found that the temperature asymmetries are closely tied to shifts in cloud cover; where cloud cover increased, so did nighttime temperatures. The researchers suggested that this could be due to changes in atmospheric circulation patterns, which affect cloud formation and distribution.

The Effects on Wildlife and Plants

Nighttime ecology is particularly understudied, with most research focused on the daytime activities of organisms. However, the changes in nighttime temperatures can have significant effects on the behavior, physiology, and survival of wildlife and plants.

For example, experiments with grasshoppers and spiders have shown that the time of the day at which heating occurs can tip the ecological balance. Increased daytime warming led spiders to seek cover earlier in the day, enabling grasshoppers to munch away at plants without fear, affecting plant growth. Conversely, the spiders hunted the grasshoppers more fiercely when nighttime temperatures warmed, possibly reducing their numbers. These kinds of effects can ripple across a larger ecosystem, with potential impacts for plant communities, wildlife, and agriculture.

Another example is the effect of nighttime warming on flowering plants. Some plants rely on temperature cues to regulate their flowering time, which is crucial for their reproduction and survival. However, if the nighttime temperatures are too high or too variable, they may disrupt the plants’ internal clock and cause them to flower earlier or later than optimal. This could affect their pollination success and their interactions with other species.

Some Relief Expected Later This Week

Meteorologists said that some relief from the heat and humidity is expected later this week, although the nights would remain warm. They advised people to drink plenty of water, avoid exposure to direct sunlight, and use air conditioning or fans to cool down.

They also warned that the high temperatures and low humidity could increase the risk of wildfires, especially in forested areas. They urged people to refrain from lighting fires or using flammable materials near vegetation.

They added that the current weather conditions are likely to become more frequent and intense in the future due to climate change. They called for more research and action to mitigate the effects of global warming on humans and nature.


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