The greenhouse gas emissions generated by humans have severe effects on various environmental phenomena. This includes, amng other things, heavy rainfall, a new study by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) found. According to the researchers, flooding caused by rain, in particular, is a problem for people, as is heavy snowfall and the resulting avalanches. The global warming triggered by greenhouse gases makes precipitation more frequent.
Rain often from water vapor
“It is important to identify the changes caused by human activity versus the changes caused by natural climate variability,” explained lead researcher Gavin Madakumbura. “This enables us to manage water resources and plan adaptation measures to the changes caused by climate change.”
Using machine learning, the research team investigated how greenhouse gas emissions affect precipitation at a global level. In doing so, they were able to find a connection. The main reason for the precipitation is the rising water vapor due to the higher temperatures. That could sometimes lead to strong storms.
Precipitation extremes are becoming more violent
Although there are regional differences and some places are becoming drier, according to the study, intense rainfall is increasing worldwide overall. This means that the days with the most rain will always be wetter. Changes in precipitation extremes are also a problem. These short, intense periods of rain can lead to flash floods, with devastating effects on infrastructure and the environment.
The algorithm trained in the study learned from mere data. In the future, Madakumbura wants to incorporate climate physics into the algorithm so that it can also recognize the mechanisms that are responsible for precipitation.
Similar study warns of heavy rain
The Helmholtz Center Hereon in Germany carried out a study similar to that of UCLA . Using 17 climate parameters such as temperature, hot days, dry days, wind speed or heavy rain days, they forecast development trends for the climate in the course of the 21st century. You used the new statistical evaluation software CLIMDEX for this. In doing so, they considered various climate protection scenarios.
According to the German researchers, if there is no reduction in emissions in Germany alone, sultry temperatures, tropical nights, longer heat waves and heavy rain will await. This study also warns of heavy rainfall, for which human-induced climate change is responsible.