Scientists have previously suggested that climate change leads to heavy rain and flooding. A new study provides more evidence of this link. The study, “When It Rains, It Pours: Global Warming and the Increase in Extreme Precipitation from 1948 to 2011,” analysed more than 80 million daily precipitation records from weather stations across the United States and found that extreme downpours are now happening 30 per cent more often nationwide than in 1948.
The alarming research suggests that humans curb emissions to hold off a public health crisis.
Nevertheless, there seems to be no chance of passing climate change legislation.
A warmer atmosphere evaporates water more quickly and holds more moisture, which increases the frequency and intensity of the biggest rain and snow storms.
Large rain or snowstorms that happened once every 12 months, on average, in the middle of the 20th century now happen every nine months.
New England has experienced the greatest change – the frequency of intense rain or snowstorms nearly doubled in Vermont and Rhode Island, and more than doubled in New Hampshire since 1948.
The very largest storms are growing faster than all other storms – that is, the most extreme weather is becoming even more extreme.
This trend will continue, but the amplification of effects will depend on the amount of pollution from the combustion of fossil fuels.
Without significant action to reduce global carbon emissions, the water cycle will accelerate further as the average temperatures in the U.S. rises by as much as 10° F by the end of the century.
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