There won't be any Nobel Prizes for this but a report from Environment Canada says that a warmer, more humid atmosphere and increasingly heavy rains and flooding are - wait for it - linked. That's also our future, and it's our present, according to Ottawa's boffins.
Warmer temperatures due to climate change lead to wetter air, and we've seen more extreme rainfall and flooding across North America. But is there really evidence that the two are related?
Yes, there is.
A new study from researchers at Environment and Climate Change Canada found that climate change has made:
- Rainfall more extreme.
- Storms with extreme rainfall more frequent.
I'm not sure what's new about this. Climate science has told us for years that our warmer atmosphere is now holding about 10 to 14 per cent more water vapour. That wetter and warmer air fuels severe weather events of increasing frequency, intensity and duration. It also creates "atmospheric rivers" that are known on the west coast as the "Pineapple Express" and when the jet stream stalls (as it does these days) can mean big trouble for those in its path. Ask Calgary."We're finding that in North America, we have seen an increase in the frequency and severity of heavy rainfall events. And this is largely due to global warming," said Megan Kirchmeier-Young, a research scientist at Environment and Climate Change Canada and lead author of the study published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Not to steal anybody's thunder but the atmospheric river phenomenon was identified by MIT researchers in 1990. But why stop there?