Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Will climate change reduce or increase rainfall?

According to the latest scientific reports Earth is warming up rapidly, and this should in short-term increase the global amount of rainfall. The scientists have even calculated that the rainfall will increase globally by 2-3 per cent for every degree Celsius that the Earth's surface heats up, so by the current looks of it we are in for a heavy rainfall in years to come.

There are some scientists who do not totally agree with this theory claiming that this calculation won't work if the balance of factors causing global warming changes significantly. There are several different factors that will have significant effect on the amount of rainfall in years to come such as the level of solar radiation, the amount of greenhouse gases, etc.

One of the less known but still very important factors are dark aerosols that have the ability to absorb enough sunlight in the atmosphere to suppress the expected rainfall response to increased temperatures, and the immediate result of this could be less rainfall.

When discussing this rather interesting topic Dr Timothy Andrews, scientist at the University of Leeds, said that two effects should be counted together because they go in tandem: "a fast atmospheric response that is closely linked with the type of climate change mechanism, and a slower response to surface temperature change that happens regardless of the climate change mechanism."

According to him these slow effects do produce the predicted 2-3 per cent increase in rainfall but fast atmospheric response might change all of this, depending on factors involved (such as dark aerosols).

There will be more rainfall if the current balance of factors remains pretty much the same in years the come. If by any chance this balance changes due to increased significance of certain factor we can even expect less rainfall in years to come.

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