Despite meeting the Paris climate targets, rains and floods would damage US

April 23, 2019 7:20 AM |

Climate Change and US

As per a new research, record-breaking rainfall and flooding might happen more frequently across the United States even if the Paris climate targets are met.

The study also mentions that risks are likely to increase across most of the East Coast, in the southern Great Plains and in the southern Rocky Mountains. The risks are generally even greater as the climate warms beyond two degrees. For example, under four degrees of warming, the study found risk of 1,000-year events could increase ten folds in some regions of the country.

The new study also suggests that the enduring challenge of making projections about future rainfall patterns on a small enough scale that will be useful for regional and local policymakers.

Such predictions, when it comes to extreme rainfall events that might cause damaging floods are critical in decision making as to how to protect or update community infrastructure, from roads to bridges to buildings.

Experts have pointed out that the conditions seen across the United States this spring are likely the indicators of the effects of the climate change. Generally speaking, higher temperatures tend to allow the atmosphere to hold more moisture, which leads to an increase in precipitation.

It’s an issue that’s been at the forefront in the Eastern and Midwestern states in recent weeks. Last month only, a bomb cyclone brought a deluge of both rain and snow to the Midwest, causing historic flooding in communities along the Missouri River, particularly in parts of Nebraska and Iowa.

Since many weeks, parts of the Great Plains, Midwest and East Coast have been repeatedly battered with bouts of severe weather, including more rain and snow, tornadoes and additional flood warnings.

Not only this, there are other local and regional influences that come into play. The frequency and intensity of extreme rainfall events might differ from one location to the next. It has been noted that capturing such differences on both a fine scale and over an extended time period might be a challenge.

The researchers note that there are still uncertainties associated with the method and that further work will be required to hone it. But, as a concept, they suggest it may present a promising new approach for producing practical information about extreme weather on a regional scale.

In the meantime, other research has found that heavy rainfall events and flooding have already been on the rise in recent decades, increasing the pressure for more accurate projections of what the coming decades will bring.

The most recent National Climate Assessment notes that “the heaviest rainfall events have become heavier and more frequent” over the last few decades, concurrent with an increase in flooding in the worst-affected places.

Image Credit: USA Today

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