The number of extreme downpours could triple by 2100 as a result of a warming climate, according to a new computer simulations study published in Nature Climate Change.
Although the trend of more frequent extreme downpours has already begun, it is predicted to get far worse, with the Mississippi Delta region, Gulf Coast and Atlantic Coast predicted to have up to a fivefold increase in extreme downpours, according to The Associated Press.
It was already known to scientists that warmer air holds more moisture and could lead to more extreme weather events, but the high-resolution computer simulations used in the study have gotten much more specific about where the increases will be and how bad they will get, the AP reported.
According to Time, the U.S. has experienced six extreme storms this year that have been classified as one-in-500-year events, based on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data.
The increase will average 180 percent by 2100, according to lead study author Andreas Prein of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), with the West Coast and Midwest seeing the smallest increases.
“These are huge increases,” Prein said, according to Time. “Imagine the most intense thunderstorm you typically experience in a single season. Our study finds that, in the future, parts of the U.S. could expect to experience five of those storms in a season, each with an intensity as strong or stronger than current storms.”
Researchers said the data are limited by how climate change will unfold between now and 2100, which could change as weather patterns are altered by future climate change, Time reported.
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