Rapid climate change, which is warming tropical oceans, could lead to a substantial increase in the frequency of extreme rainstorms by the end of the century, according to NASA scientists.
The study team, led by Hartmut Aumann of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, found that extreme storms – those producing at least 3 millimeters of rain per hour over an area of 25 kilometers – were formed when the surface temperature of the sea was 28 degrees Celsius.
They also found that 21 percent more storms form every 1 degree Celsius when the surface temperature of the ocean increases.
Current climate models predict that, with a steady increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide (1% per year), surface temperatures of tropical oceans could rise to 2.7 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.
If that happened, we could expect the frequency of extreme storms to increase by up to 60% at the time, the researchers explained.
Although climate models are not perfect, results like these can serve as a guideline for those seeking to prepare for the potential effects that a changing climate may have.
"Our results quantify and give a more visual meaning to the consequences of the predicted warming of the oceans," Aumann said.
"More storms mean more flooding, more damage to the structure, more damage to plantations and so on, unless mitigation measures are implemented."
For the study, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, the team examined 15 years of data acquired by the NASA Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on the tropical oceans to determine the relationship between the mean sea surface temperature and the beginning of the severe storms
rt / soni /
(This story was not edited by the Business Standard team and generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)