Thursday, October 13, 2005

The 100-Year Forecast: Stronger Storms Ahead

As Earth gets warmer, large regions will experience heavier rain and snowfall as weather becomes generally more intense, according to a new study.

"The models show most areas around the world will experience more intense precipitation for a given storm during this century," said lead researcher Gerald Meehl of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

A warmer world will also mean a wetter one.

"On average the global precipitation increases in a warmer climate," Meehl told LiveScience.

The increase in rain and snow will be on average about 10-20 percent, Meehl said. The more intense storms will most likely happen in late autumn, winter, and early spring. The largest increase in precipitation will occur over land in the tropics where the atmosphere is warming quickest.

Based on computer models, Meehl and his colleagues expect that the regions most likely to experience the more intense storms are places where large masses of moist air converge. These regions include northwestern and northeastern North America, northern Europe, northern Asia, the east coast of Asia, southwestern Australia and the south-central regions of South America.

No comments: