Climate change could make extreme downpours even worse

Climate change could make extreme downpours even worse

Climate change could cause a drastic increase in extreme summer downpours in much of the United States by the end of current century, intensifying flash flooding, a new study warned.

A team of researchers led by Andreas Prein, of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, estimated that climate change could drive a whopping 400 per cent increase in the frequency of extreme summer downpours in the country by 2100.

The researchers investigated the link between increasing temperatures and precipitation across the lower 48 states of the nation. With the help of special climate models, they simulated downpours across the continent under current climate conditions as well as a hypothetical high-warming scenario.

They found that increasing temperatures tend to cause a rise in extreme downpours in moist locations, and the opposite was found to be true in drier locations.

Speaking about their study, Prein said, “We expect that intense rainfall extremes will get more frequent and more intense in the future climate because if we warm up the atmosphere, air can hold more moisture. What we were interested in is how these kinds of storms might change in the future.”

They stressed that communities across the nation should start thinking about updating and enhancing their infrastructure to cope with the potential uptick in extreme storms and flooding.

The researchers reported their findings in the Dec. 5th edition of the journal Nature Climate Change.