Thursday, January 26, 2017

Rains From Thunderstorms Rising Rapidly in Europe, Asia

Seems to me this decreases the rate at which aquifers recharge. Well water comes from aquifers.

By Andrea Thompson
Jan. 26, 2017

Across a vast swath of Europe and Asia, rain is increasingly falling in the short, localized bursts associated with thunderstorms, seemingly at the expense of events where a steady rain falls over many hours, a new study finds.

The study, detailed Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, directly links this trend to the warming and moistening of the atmosphere caused by rising greenhouse gas levels.

The results fit with rainfall trends already observed in the U.S., as well as model predictions that massive rains associated with thunderstorms could become both more frequent and more intense in the U.S. as the world continues to heat up.

The shift toward more extreme rains could have implications for water management and flooding because the ground is less able to absorb rainwater when it falls all at once.


That a warming atmosphere will lead to more extreme rainfall events is one of the basic predictions of climate science, and is linked to the fact that warming leads to more evaporation, which leads to more water vapor in the atmosphere. That means that when rains occur, there’s more water vapor available to dump as rain.

Extreme downpours have already been increasing in the U.S., most notably in the Northeast, where they have increased by 71 percent since mid-century, according to the 2014 National Climate Assessment.


As these trends continue with warming, they could have major impacts on water management. The trade-off in non-convective rains for more convective rain means that there will be fewer days that have rain, but more rain falling on days when storms do occur, Ye said.

A shift from more frequent non-convective rains to less frequent downpours could overwhelm the ability of the soil and plants to absorb rainwater. If the ground can’t absorb the water, it runs off into streams, potentially causing floods and changing how cities and countries must think about capturing their water.

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