8 august 2008

Science Briefing: Rainfall alert on global warming
By Clive Cookson, Financial Times August 8 2008

Global warming will exacerbate rainfall extremes – both deluges and droughts – more than most climatologists have predicted, according to a study of satellite data and climate models in the journal Science today.

Experts agree that heavy rain will fall more frequently in a warmer world, because higher temperatures increase the amount of energy and water vapour that can be stored in the atmosphere. But computer models underestimate the likely intensification of rainfall, say Richard Allan, of Reading university, and Brian Soden, of Miami.

Floods will become more frequent in wet regions while dry regions will suffer droughts, says Mr Allan. “Because rainfall worldwide is not expected to change much, the very heavy rainfall events will have to be balanced by other places becoming more dry.”

from the Financial Times

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