Global Precipitation Changes Linked to Human-induced Climate Change

Posted November 12th, 2013 at 7:43 pm (UTC+0)
4 comments

A rainy day in Chicago (Bernt Rostad via Flickr/Creative Commons)

A rainy day in Chicago (Bernt Rostad via Flickr/Creative Commons)

A new study shows changes in precipitation are affected by human activities and can’t be explained by natural phenomena, such as El Niños and La Niñas.

Scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California published the study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers suggest two mechanisms will probably cause changes in the distribution and intensity of precipitation worldwide because of human release of greenhouse gases that trap heat and deplete the ozone.

First, there are some thermodynamic changes, caused by the increasing global temperatures, which will likely result in already wet regions of the world getting wetter while the dry areas will become drier.

The researchers also think increased temperatures could change global atmospheric circulation patterns – movement of air at all levels of the atmosphere – which might move storm tracks and push current subtropical dry zones toward the poles.

“Both these changes are occurring simultaneously in global precipitation and this behavior cannot be explained by natural variability alone,” said Kate Marvel, the study’s lead author. “External influences such as the increase in greenhouse gases are responsible for the changes.”

To reach their conclusions, the researchers compared various climate model predictions with global observations from 1979-2012 that were provided by the Global Precipitation Climatology Project.

(Flóra Soós via Flickr/Creative Commons)

(Flóra Soós via Flickr/Creative Commons)

The scientists found natural climate phenomena alone couldn’t explain the ongoing changes in global precipitation patterns. They also noted that any fluctuations in climate brought on by natural causes could either intensify or shift precipitation towards the poles, but it’s very rare for both to take place together naturally.

“In combination, man-made increases in greenhouse gases and stratospheric ozone depletion are expected to lead to both an intensification and redistribution of global precipitation,” said Céline Bonfils, another co-author of the study. “The fact that we see both of these effects simultaneously in the observations is strong evidence that humans are affecting global precipitation.”

The researchers said their studies helped them identify a “fingerprint pattern” that can explain the simultaneous changes in precipitation locations and intensity brought on by external forces such as warming caused by human activities.

“We have shown that the changes observed in the satellite era are externally forced and likely to be from man,” Bonfils said.

4 Responses to “Global Precipitation Changes Linked to Human-induced Climate Change”

  1. […] Global Precipitation Changes Linked to Human-induced Climate ChangeVoice of America (blog)The scientists found natural climate phenomena alone couldn't explain the ongoing changes in global precipitation patterns. They also noted that any fluctuations in climate brought on by natural causes could either intensify or shift precipitation …Global Precipitation Changes Linked to Warming ClimateScience World ReportGlobal Warming Causes Fluctuations in Precipitation Intensity; Hotter Hot …University HeraldPrecipitation Changes Linked To Global WarmingRedOrbitHeadlines & Global Newsall 13 news articles […]

  2. mememine69 says:

    How many remaining, goose-stepping climate blame believers does it take to change a energy saving/planet saving light bulb?

    None because believers choose to remain in the dark about a consensus that NEVER said it WILL BE a crisis, and nothing beyond “could be”. Now who’s the fear monger?

    Will the arrival of unstoppable warming force science to now say a crisis for the planet is now “inevitable” not just degrees of “possible”?

  3. Juan Pablo says:

    It’s too shame that we create our catastrophes, then later we suffer the consequences, many people have lost their houses, business … and we keep damaging the environment and many of us doesn’t care of it.

  4. Dave says:

    Climate change takes the form of themodynamic instability. It is clearly evident in the erractic and wild swings in the “jet streams”, and the increasing difficulty in predicting the weather on a daily basis.

    Politics aside. The trees and animals are showing signs for severe stress associated with seasonal changes that are out of sync with average changes of the past.

    We may find ourselves wishing more had been done to mitigate climate changes decades ago. The legal processes required to do this are often un-equal to the task because they can only be implemented after the fact…

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