Why our hotter climate causes torrential rains

hotter climate causes torrential rains

China recently experienced a deadly deluge, with water creeping up to the necks of passengers on a subway train. Certainly, as our planet continues to warm, the rains are becoming more extreme and the floods more devastating.


Scientists in the atmospheric sciences know why. Heat makes water molecules evaporate, so more water is in the air when the air temperature is higher (warmth makes water molecules evaporate). This is particularly true in humid or rainy regions. Consequently, it increases the likelihood of powerful storms like thunderstorms, mid-latitude cyclones, atmospheric rivers, and hurricanes deluging places with more water.


Scientist Andreas Prein, who studies weather extremes at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, explained, "When there's more moisture in the air, the bucket can be emptied faster.". The result can be powerful downpours, as evidenced by research. The fact that more water can be released in a shorter time should not be questioned, Prein said.


hotter climate causes torrential rains
Flooding occurs in great quantities. Several vivid and sometimes jaw-dropping examples characterize the summer of 2021. European cities, New York City, India, China, Detroit, and beyond have all experienced destructive and sometimes fatal floods in recent weeks.


In addition, a warming climate does not necessarily mean it will always rain heavily. The increased water vapor in the atmosphere means that strong storms are more likely to pick up rain at higher altitudes and drop many inches of rain over a short period.


Scientist Brian Tang of the University of Albany said, "you're loading the dice.". "There is a greater risk of a lot of rain over a short period of time."


Approximately 7 percent more water is held in the air for each degree Fahrenheit (or Celsius) degrees heated. As a result of Earth's gradual warming since the late 1800s, there are more storms and more water in them. Even flood control infrastructure cannot prevent urban areas from being overwhelmed by water. Storms can stall over land, causing dramatic flooding, like when Hurricane Harvey dumped record rainfall.


Rains will not relent, no matter what anyone says. The energy system of civilization is certainly headed in a greener way, yet fossil fuels still dominate in the global economy and emit potent climate-warming gases into the air. As a result, the world is almost certainly going to continue to heat up for many decades to come. The northeastern region will see unusually heavy deluges, especially when it receives a lot of storms. (The amount of precipitation during the heaviest rain events in the Northeast has already increased 71 percent between 1958 and 2012, and other U.S. regions have seen significant increases as well.)


hotter climate causes torrential rains

According to Tang, heavy rains in the Northeast are likely to continue to increase. During the next few months, expect higher rainfall levels and more flash flooding.


There is no doubt that flood infrastructure - like diversion channels (like the Los Angeles river), dykes, and reservoirs - can eliminate major flooding. The increase in rainfall can, however, lead to a situation where there is too much water to contain.


The amount of preparation you can do is limited, said Prein. The infrastructure needed to deal with flood volumes is extremely difficult to construct.


As a result of global warming, this is the case. There's a heightened chance of severe, if not unprecedented, flooding when the rains come. It's one of the most obvious effects of a warmer world.


"I'm struck by the rate at which things are changing," said Prein. Climate change is affecting us all on a global scale - it's a very real thing now."


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