Monday, March 4, 2024

How California’s hurricanes are predicted to become more severe with climate change

Scientists have long known that as the atmosphere warms, the air can hold more moisture. With warmer temperatures, the humidity in a storm can increase even more before water vapor condenses as rain.

“In general, this allows heavier rain to be heavier because there is more water vapor in the air,” said UCLA atmospheric scientist Karen McKinnon. “However, it is not yet clear if we will see this signal in the western United States and California, although we hope to see it in the future.”

An aerial view of a Beverly Crest home that was torn from its foundation by a landslide caused by heavy rain in Los Angeles.

Most of the rain in California and the West comes from large storms called atmospheric rivers that come from the Pacific. Scientists estimate that atmospheric rivers will become stronger as temperatures continue to rise, making this a bigger problem. dominant driver Water supply and flooding in California.

Based on well-established principles of thermodynamics, according to scientists, if the atmosphere warms by 1 degree, the water-holding capacity of the air increases by up to 3.9%. And with the global average temperature rising by more than 2 degrees above pre-industrial times, research shows that increased water vapor is causing more intense rain in many parts of the world.

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As the climate warms, atmospheric rivers flowing toward California over warmer ocean waters are predicted to bring more water vapor, leading to heavier precipitation. (Using simulations, the researchers estimate that a storm like the powerful 2017 atmospheric river that damaged the Oroville Dam and caused the emergency evacuation of 188,000 people would cause about 11% more rain due to the warming that has occurred so far.)

“We expect less frequent but more intense rainfall,” said Alexander Gershunov, a research meteorologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego. “Climate models clearly show an increase in precipitation, especially from atmospheric rivers, in the future. And that’s a very high-confidence expectation for a warm future. However, we have not observed this trend yet.”

Gershunov said he and other scientists aren’t sure why the available observational data hasn’t shown an increase in the intensity of atmospheric rivers on the West Coast, and it’s a question they plan to investigate further.

While the data has not yet detected an increase in rainfall, Gershunov said that eventually, as warming continues, “we expect a trend to emerge.”

Debris Covered The Road In Front Of Nine Homes That Were Evacuated Due To A Landslide In Studio City.Debris covered the road in front of nine homes that were displaced by landslides caused by heavy rains during the atmospheric river that hit Studio City.

Another active area of ​​research involves estimating the magnitude of the severity of an extreme weather event, such as a record storm, due to higher temperatures due to climate change. And the severity of climate change is expected to depend on the amount of greenhouse gases that humans emit into the atmosphere.

Climate scientists point out that the rapid rise in global temperatures is now a constant factor influencing the global climate.

“Climate change certainly makes every climate event a little different than before,” said Alex Hall, a climate scientist at UCLA.

Hall and his colleagues studied how atmospheric rivers are likely to become more severe with climate change.

According to Hall, based on the warming so far, the big rains are generally heavier, “probably about 10% juicier” than before.

“Wherever there’s rain, it’s going to be heavier because the air is warmer and there’s more moisture,” Hall said. “And as the climate continues to warm, and as warming is likely to intensify, the signal will be larger.”

Snow Covers A Row Of Cars And Trucks Parked On Mammoth Mountain.Snow covers a row of cars and trucks parked on Mammoth Mountain.
World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
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