Forecast Calls for Major Rain in Future, New NASA Research Finds

New climate study predicts increased rainfall for tropical regions as Earth warms.

June 13, 2017 5:00 am
More rainfall than expected might be in future forecasts. (Getty Images)
More rainfall than expected might be in future forecasts. (Getty Images)

Future meteorologists might want to err on the rainy side.

As Earth grows warmer, tropical regions will receive more rainfall than scientists previously believed. New research from NASA suggests that previous climate models underestimated future rainfall totals.

Global warming will lead to fewer high-altitude clouds over the tropics and boost precipitation in the region, according to a new study from Hui Su of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Typically, fewer clouds would mean less rain. However, high-altitude clouds trap heat so without them, the air is cooler and precipitation is created more easily.

Hui Su and her team conducted a retrospect analysis on the numerous NASA models used to predict climate change to generate the new forecast. The findings were published in the journal Nature Communications last week.

Climate models that anticipated the measured decrease in high-altitude clouds over the tropics in the last several years predicted higher rainfall totals than the others.

“This study provides a pathway for improving predictions of future precipitation change,” Su said in a press release.

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