Increases in rainfall extremes linked to global warming

Rainfall extremes are increasing around the world, and the increase is linked to the warming of the atmosphere which has taken place since pre-industrial times. This writes Dr Seth Westra of the University of Adelaide on The Conversation, summarising the results of a recent study by him and his colleagues of UNSW and the University of Victoria.

They investigated extreme rainfall trends using data from 8326 weather-recording stations globally, some of which have records spanning more than a hundred years. Of all the stations analysed, we found that two-thirds showed increasing trends over the course of the 20th and early 21st centuries. When we looked at the association between the intensity of rainfall extremes and a record of global mean near-surface atmospheric temperature, rainfall intensity was found to increase at a rate of between 5.9% and 7.7% for each degree, depending on the method of analysis.

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