Climate Change Will Bring Wetter Storms in U.S., Study Says By tatiana schlossberg

Summary: For decades, research has suggested that climate change will lead to new drastic weather patterns. Recently, a new study has come to surface further investigating the implications of intense precipitation patterns, but with regional variations. The study was conducted by the National Center for Atmosphere Research. Led by Andreas Prein, the researchers divided the United States land mass into 2.5 mile square grids and utilized computer simulations to look at extreme precipitation patterns in hour increments. The precipitation data ranged from 2000 to 2013.

Normal Baseline Precipitation Trends in Continental United States

The data published was alarming. Researchers found that rainstorms may become more frequent and intense if greenhouse gas emissions remain at current levels. The biggest rainfall increase is projected to be in the Northeast and Gulf Coast.

A visual representation of how areas will be affected. Darker shades denote harder rainfall!

Other areas, such as the Pacific Northwest, already rainy and humid as it is, found that it might become drier on average, but more intensified extreme rainfall. Thus, more risk of droughts and of flash floods.

Another area of concern is the Midwest, where it could seem that these conditions could alleviate drought events occurring there. However, this extreme rain can have a reverse effect, causing soil erosion, and washing away plats that assist in absorbing soil moisture.

According to this study, intense storms could become five times as more frequent with up to 70% more rain !

Analysis of the Article: The consequences of these immense carbon emissions have already been seen in serious flooding that has occurred in previous areas in regions such as New England and Louisiana. With such drastic weather patterns comes urgency to restore and develop infrastructure that can withstand these new stormy conditions. From reservoirs to storm sewers, there is much needed improvements. However, as said by Kevin E. Trenberth, a senior researcher at the National Center for Atmospheric Research who was not involved in the study, “It builds confidence in our previous work and adds to the urgency that this is the sort of thing we need to pay attention to.”

Texan cattle herded through floodwaters in June 2016. (Credit to NYT)

The Big Takeaway

Study after study, the same data is represented in different forms. The implications of excess carbon emissions and impending global warming has been expressed clearly. There is frustration having this evidence presented time after time, especially with the widespread damage it could cause, and to have it greatly disregarded. To me, there are two viable solutions to this: reduce carbon emissions with legislation OR develop infrastructure to protection places, especially coastal towns from this damage. The environment and well being of private citizens needs to be prioritized, and with studies like this conducted, it is alarming that more attention hasn't been brought to the surface.


Created with images by Colin Browne - "Rainstorm"

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