Think of the amount of rain and snow that in one year they wet our planet. How is all this water distributed throughout the seasons? In a very unbalanced way: according to a study published in Geophysical Research Letters, half of the world’s annual precipitation falls to Earth in just 12 days, and by the end of the century the concentration of these events is bound to become even more unfair.
Rain on wet.limate studies tell us that, due to the rise in land temperatures, we can expect both an increase in extreme weather events and a slight increase in average annual rainfall. The research of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, brings together these two forecasts: the hypothesised increase is destined to manifest itself in the already worst days. In other words, the very rainy days will become even more so, because the extra rain (and snow) will not be distributed evenly throughout the year.
THE INVENTORY OF THE RAINS. Scientists worked in collaboration with the Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and the Zurich Climate to collect data recorded by 185 ground weather stations over a 16-year period, from 1999 to 2014, a period when measurements were validated from the detections of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite. The stations were scattered all over the world, but most of those involved were in North America, Eurasia and Australia.
A DAY IN LESS. After collecting data on the past, the team used the daytime rainfall simulations predicted in 36 different future climate models to understand how much it could rain in the individual stations observed.It has been seen that rainfall could slightly increase locally, but that half of the extra precipitation would spread over just six days each year. In 2100, half of the rain and global snow would fall to Earth in just 11 days, a period even more concentrated than today.
THE EFFECTS. I think that a handful of large-scale events is destined to have worse consequences in high-risk hydrogeological areas: the study must be taken into consideration by those involved in urban planning and emergency management. Furthermore, an iniquitous rainfall distribution will have major repercussions on agriculture, more productive when the rains fall more smoothly, following a seasonal predictability.
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