Rainfall May Increase More In The Future As The Climate Warms, NASA Says

First Posted: Jun 13, 2017 06:06 AM EDT

A new NASA study indicates that it will be rainier in the future than previously thought. This will occur as the climate continually warms up.

The study, which is titled Tightening of Tropical Ascent and High Clouds Key To Precipitation Change in A Warmer Climate, was published in the journal Nature Communications. It was led by scientist Hui Su of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and other colleagues, according to Scroll Today.

NASA study suggests that most global climate models take too lightly the amount of rain as well as the decreases in high clouds in the tropical regions of the planet Earth. This underestimation is credited to the warming of the planet.

So, how could fewer clouds lead to increase rainfall? Su said that rainfall is not just linked to the clouds that could make rain. He further said that it is due to the Earth's "energy budget," which is the incoming energy from the Sun compared to the outgoing heat energy. The tropical clouds above trap the heat in the atmosphere.

Once the clouds became fewer in the future, the tropical atmosphere will cool. In over the recent decades, the atmosphere could create fewer high clouds due to warming of the climate. This will also heighten the tropical rainfall that could warm the air to balance the cooling from reduced high clouds.

In the study, the researchers compared climate data from the past years with 23 climate model simulations of the same time. They used satellite instruments and ground-level observations. The team also utilized studies of outgoing thermal radiation from NASA's spaceborne Clouds and Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES).

The climate model simulations underestimated the rate of the heightened precipitation for every degree of the surface warming in recent decades. Meanwhile, in the observations of clouds in the present-day climate indicates an increased precipitation for the future than the other models. The study could deliver data for enhancing predictions of future precipitation change, according to

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